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Belt and Road

Belt and Road provides exporters with a brief analysis of political and economic risks for the countries under the Belt and Road Initiative.
Flag and map of Togo

 
Key Information
Capital   Lome
Population   7.8 million
Area   56,785 sq km
Currency   West African CFA franc (fixed to the Euro at 1 EUR = 655.957 XOF)
Official language   French
Form of government   Presidential Republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 137 out of 190 in 2019 (↑19)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 118 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2016*)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2016*)
Phosphates (7.8%)   Capital goods (18.4%)
Cotton (4.9%)   Food (10.8%)
Cement & clinker (4.5%)   Petroleum products (10.7%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
Burkina Faso (12.9%)   China (20.9%)
Benin (10.3%)   France (10.9%)
Niger (7.4%)   Japan (5.1%)

*Most recent available data
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Located in the western Africa, Togo gained independence from France in 1960. It is a presidential republic where the president, elected by universal suffrage for a five-year team, is both the Head of State and Chief of Government. The president appoints all key ministers, including the prime minister, who also serves for a five-year term. Currently, political power rests mainly with president Faure Gnassingbé, who has been in power since 2005 and was re-elected in 2010 and 2015. The legislature is the unicameral National Assembly composing of 91 members. In the legislative election held in December 2018, the ruling Union for the Republic (UNIR) won 59 seats in the parliament.

 

Economic Trend

*Estimate ^Forecast
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit


Togo is heavily dependent on its agricultural and extractive industries, with the agriculture alone accounting for about 50% of GDP and employing more than half of the country’s workforce. The economy is vulnerable to the occurrence of natural hazards, including droughts and water pollution. The country has been listed on the Least Developed Countries (LDC) by the United Nation (UN) since 1982. Economic growth slowed in 2017, reflecting the escalating political tension and fiscal consolidation, while is projected to accelerate slightly in 2018 on increasing exports of phosphate and cotton, which are the country’s main export commodities.


The country is supported by a three-year extended credit facility from the IMF approved in May 2017, which aimed to reduce the overall fiscal deficit substantially to ensure long-term debt and external sustainability. The IMF disbursed US$34.9 million to Togo in December 2018, bringing total disbursements under the arrangement to US$139.5 million.
 

 

Hong Kong – Togo Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Togo increased by 29.8% from HK$1.47 billion in 2016 to HK$1.90 billion in 2017. The top three export categories to Togo were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+30.2%), (2) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and electrical parts thereof (+735.4%) and (3) petroleum, petroleum products and related materials, which represented 99.6% of total exports to Togo.

 

EHKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Togolese buyers. In the past 12 months (from January to December 2018), there was no insured business on Togo.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 7 January 2019

       
Flag and map of Nigeria

 
Key Information
Capital   Abuja
Population   203.4 million
Area   923,768 sq km
Currency   Naira (1 NGN = 0.0028 USD as of 4 December 2018)
Official language   English
Form of government   Federal republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 146 out of 190 in 2018/19 (↓1)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 115 out of 140 in 2018 (↓3)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 110 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Crude oil (80.1%)   Machinery & transport equipment (26.4%)
Gas (12.6%)   Manufactured goods (13.9%)
Others (7.3%)   Chemicals (11.0%)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2017)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2017)
India (32.4%)   China (21.2%)
US (13.1%)   Belgium (8.7%)
Spain (7.1%)   US (8.4%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Nigeria gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1960 and became a member country of the Commonwealth. It is a federal republic with the president as Head of State and Head of Government, elected by universal suffrage to serve a four-year term. The legislature is a bicameral National Assembly made up of a House of Representatives with 360 seats and a Senate with 109 seats, each elected for a four-year term. In the presidential election in March 2015, opposition candidate Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) defeated the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Political instability remains in the country as there was little progress in economic reform and the relationship between Buhari, the legislature and some members of his APC have been strained in recent months. In July 2018, 15 senators quit the ruling APC, making it a minority in the upper house.

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast
Source: International Monetary Fund


Nigeria is one of Africa’s wealthiest economies and is vulnerable to fluctuations in international prices and demand for oil and gas, which accounts for more than 90% of its export earnings. The recovery of oil prices and growth in agriculture, telecommunications and services sectors brought the country out of recession and growth for 2018 is projected to expand further to 2.1%. However, despite being the largest oil producer in Africa, the country has struggled to translate its resource wealth into rising living standards, and has overtaken India with the largest number of people living in extreme poverty.

Hong Kong – Nigeria Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Nigeria decreased by 4.6% from HK$5.3 billion in 2016 to HK$5.1 billion in 2017. The top three export categories to Nigeria were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-3.9%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+10.3%), and (3) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (-43.3%), which represented 97.0% of total exports to Nigeria.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Nigerian buyers. In the past 12 months (from December 2017 to November 2018), there was no claim payment or payment difficulty case reported against Nigerian buyers.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 4 December 2018

          
Flag and map of Kenya

 
Key Information
Capital   Nairobi
Population   47.6 million
Area   569,140 sq km
Currency   Kenya Shilling (1 KES = 0.00975 USD as of 3 Dec 2018)
Official language   English and Kiswahili
Form of government   Unitary Republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 61 out of 190 (↑19) in 2018/19
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 93 out of 140 in 2018 (-)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 68 out of 160 in 2018
Major Merchandise Exports (% of total, 2017)   Major Merchandise Imports (% of total, 2017)
Teas (21.2%)   Industrial supplies (37.3%)
Horticulture (12.8%)   Machinery & other capital equipment (20.4%)
Coffee (3.5%)   Transport equipment (18.9%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
Uganda (10.8%)    China (23.6%)
USA (7.5%)   India (14.4%)
Netherlands (7.5%   U.A.E. (6.4%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, World Trade Organization

Political Highlights

 

Kenya is a unitary republic with the President as both the head of state and head of government. Uhuru Kenyatta won his second term as president in October 2017. Though the most prominent opposition leader, Raila Odinga, defied the election result and sworn in as “president of the people” at a mass meeting in January 2018, the two leaders finally promised to begin reconciliation in March 2018. Expanding manufacturing sector, food security, health and housing will remain the government’s major agenda for the coming years.

The country’s foreign policies have been mainly driven by economic interests, especially the maintenance of close relations with key donors in the West and the advancement of regional integration within the East African Community (EAC). The country has seen an upsurge in violent terrorist attacks since 2011 and the main threat is from a militant group in Somalia opposed to the Somali government. The Kenyan authorities have increased security to counter potential reprisal attacks from the extremists.

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast
Source: International Monetary Fund


Kenya has been one of the fastest growing economies in Africa, supported by strong growth from the agriculture and tourism sectors. Agriculture contributed close to one-third of the country’s GDP and remains as the backbone of the economy. The country achieved an average annual growth of 5% in the past eight years. The key growth drivers included infrastructure spending and buoyant household consumption, underpinned by strong underlying demand for goods and services.  Economic expansion declined slightly in 2017 with higher current account deficit and accelerated inflation, attributable to a severe drought and the political turmoil from the presidential election. The country is projected to recover in 2018 on the back of increased private consumption and a normalisation of the weather.

Despite an overall uptick in economic growth, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned the country’s growing risk of debt distress. In response, the government is taking steps towards fiscal consolidation and is expected to enhance revenue collection efforts while rationalizing expenditure to boost fiscal stability.

Hong Kong – Kenya Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Kenya increased by 23.9% from HK$1,322 million in 2016 to HK$1,638 million in 2017. The top three export categories to Kenya were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-23.7%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+360.3%), and (3) textile yarn, fabrics, made-up articles, and related products (+66.7%), which represented 85.8% of total exports to Kenya.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Kenyan buyers. Currently, the insured buyers in Kenya are mainly small and medium sized companies. For 2017, the number and amount of credit limit applications on Kenya increased 80% and decreased 55.9% respectively, while insured business decreased by 26.5%. Major insured products were chemical products, toys, and electrical appliances, which represented 96.3% of ECIC’s insured business on Kenya. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Kenya has been satisfactory, with no claim payment or payment difficulty case reported during the past 12 months (from Nov 2017 to Oct 2018).

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 3 December 2018

            
Flag and map of Mozambique

 
Key Information
Capital   Maputo
Population   29.6 million
Area   799,380 sq km
Currency   Metical (1 USD = 61.4337 MZN as of 23 November 2018)
Official language   Portuguese
Form of government   Republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 135 out of 190 (↑3) in 2019
The Global Competitiveness Index 2018 by the World Economic Forum   # 133 out of 140 (↓8)
Major Merchandise Exports (% of total, 2016*)   Major Merchandise Imports (% of total, 2016*)
Fuel and mining products (70.2%)   Manufactured products (43.8%)
Agricultural products (16.3%)   Fuel and mining products (21.9%)
Manufactured products (7.9%)   Agricultural products (16.4%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
India (26.8%)   South Africa (38.8%)
Netherlands (23.3%)   China (7.3%)
South Africa (15.9%)   UAE (7.1%)

*Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, World Trade Organization

Political Highlights

 

Mozambique was independent from Portugal in 1975 and joined the Commonwealth. It is a republic with an executive president. The president is the head of state and government, directly elected every five years for a maximum of two terms, and appoints the prime minister and council of ministers. The national legislature is the 250-member parliament, of which members are elected by direct universal suffrage every five years. The country’s municipal elections were held in October 2018. The ruling party, the Frente de Libertação de Moçambique (Frelimo), won 44 municipalities out of the total 55, which the result was contested by the opposition party. The next presidential, legislative and provincial elections are scheduled in October 2019.

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


The Mozambican economy slowed from 2015 because of a series of shocks, including lower commodity prices and adverse weather conditions. The economy expanded 3.3% in the first three quarters of 2018, supported by contributions from a broad range of economic sectors, including agriculture. Tight monetary conditions and lower food price increases have led inflation to decline rapidly to 4.7% year-on-year in October 2018. Public debt has been rising at an unsustainable pace and debt has remained in distress with several payments on external borrowing missed. In September 2018, Fitch has reaffirmed the country’s long-term foreign currency credit rating at "RD" (Restricted Default), which reflects its failure to cure the default on debt to external commercial creditors.

Hong Kong – Mozambique Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Mozambique increased by 64.5% from HK$187 million in 2016 to HK$308 million in 2017. The top three export categories to Mozambique were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+114.6%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+15.0%), and (3) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (+37.2%), which represented 96.8% of total exports to Mozambique.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) offers coverage on buyers in Mozambique with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC). In the past 12 months (from November 2017 to October 2018), there was no insured business on Mozambique.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 23 November 2018

          
Flag and map of Ghana

 
Key Information
Capital   Accra
Population   28.8 million
Area   238,537 sq km
Currency   Ghanaian Cedi (1 USD = 4.82932 GHS as of 20 November 2018)
Official language   English
Form of government   Presidential Republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 120 out of 190 in 2018 (↓12)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 111 out of 137 in 2017/18 (↑3)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 106 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2016*)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2016*)
Agricultural products (33.0%)   Manufactured products (67.6%)
Fuel and mining products (14.1%)   Agricultural products (13.3%)
Manufactured products (8.1%)   Fuel and mining products (2.6%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2016)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2016)
India (23.8%)   China (16.8%)
United Arab Emirates (13.4%)   USA (8.0%)
China (10.8%)   United Kingdom (6.2%)

*Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, World Trade Organization

Political Highlights

 

Ghana is a relatively stable democratic country and is often seen as a model for political and economic reform in Africa. In the general elections held in December 2016, Nana Akufo-Addo of the centre-right New Patriotic Party (NPP) was elected as president, defeating the incumbent John Mahama of the National Democratic Congress (NDC). The NPP had taken a majority of seats in the parliament and the transition of power went smooth. The new government started to address public finances and the implementation of the Public Financial Management (PFM) law is expected to bolster government effectiveness going forward. The next general elections are due in November 2020.

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast

Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Ghana is endowed with various abundant natural resources making it one of the richest countries in Africa.  The agricultural sector is vital to the economy which accounts for nearly one-quarter of its GDP and employs more than half of the workforce. Gold and cocoa exports are major sources of foreign exchange. Its economic outlook turned considerably brighter with the discovery of major offshore oil deposits in 2007. Economic growth rebounded in 2017 driven by narrowed current account deficit mainly on the back of increased oil and gas production, while imports were subdued. The country’s debt ratio remained high which primarily consisted of bond liabilities from the energy related sector and it is expected that the stronger growth outlook will contribute to a gradual decline in the coming years.

  

Hong Kong – Ghana Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Ghana decreased by 26.9% from HK$ 1,476 million in 2016 to HK$ 1,078 million in 2017. The top three export categories to Ghana were: (1) telecommunications, audio & video equipment (-8.6%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+63.5%), and (3) non-ferrous metals (+5.5%), which represented 92.7% of total exports to Ghana.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Ghanaian buyers. In the past 12 months (from November 2017 to October 2018), there was no claim payment or payment difficulty case reported against Ghanaian buyers.



Please click
here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 21 Nov 2018

Flag and map of Sierra Leone

 
Key Information
Capital   Freetown
Population   7.4 million
Area   71,740 sq km
Currency   Sierra Leone Leone (1 USD = 8,389.96 SLL as of 20 November 2018)
Official language   English
Form of government   Presidential Republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 163 out of 190 in 2019 (↓3)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 134 out of 140 in 2018 (↓4)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 156 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2016)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2016*)
Agricultural products (56.4%)   Manufactured goods (36.5%)
Manufactured goods (16.5%)   Agricultural products (20.1%)
Fuels and mining products (0.4%)   Fuels and mining products (4.6%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2016*)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2016*)
Côte d'Ivoire (34.7%)   European Union (24.6%)
USA (31.0%)   China (12.6%)
European Union (24.6%)   USA (9.8%)

* Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, World Trade Organization

 

Political Highlights

 

Sierra Leone, located on the west coast of Africa, is a presidential republic which gained independence from Britain in 1961. The president is both the head of state and chief of government, who is elected by popular vote to serve a five-year term. The president is responsible for appointing the vice president as well as the cabinet ministers. The current president Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP) took office in April 2018. The country has a unicameral legislative with 146 members in the Parliament. In the legislative election 2018, the opposition All People's Congress (APC) won 68 seats and the ruling party SLPP won 48 seats.

 

Economic Trend

^ Forecast
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


With nearly half of the working-age population engages in subsistence agriculture, the country has in recent years become more dependent on mining, particularly iron ore. Economic growth in 2017 slowed due to a weak recovery in mineral production, with the growth of iron ore production falling short of market expectation. Besides, the non-iron ore economy grew by only 3.6% in 2017, slowed from a 4.3% growth in 2016 largely due to a fall in construction activities following the slowdown in public investment in infrastructure. In November 2018, the IMF has approved a new US$172 million loan program to help the country combat rising inflation and lackluster economic growth.

 

Hong Kong – Sierra Leone Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Sierra Leone increased by 34.4% from HK$54.13 million in 2016 to HK$72.74 million in 2017. The top three export categories to Sierra Leone were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+45.9%), (2) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and electrical parts thereof (-24.2%), and (3) machinery specialized for particular industries (+123.4%), which represented 94.5% of total exports to Sierra Leone.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) offers coverage on buyers in Sierra Leone with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC). In the past 12 months (from November 2017 to October 2018), there was no insured business on Sierra Leone.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 20 November 2018

     
Flag and map of Namibia

 
Key Information
Capital   Windhoek
Population   2.5 million
Area   824,269 sq km
Currency   Namibia dollar (1 USD = 14.3350 NAD as of 15 Nov 2018)
Official language   English
Form of government   Presidential republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 107 out of 190 in 2019 (↓1)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 100 out of 140 in 2018 (↓10)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 117 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2016*)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2016*)
Manufactured goods (38.8%)   Manufactured goods (64.3%)
Fuels and mining products (36.9%)   Fuels and mining products (20.3%)
Agricultural products (24.1%)   Agricultural products (13.1%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
South Africa (27.1%)   South Africa (61.4%)
Belgium (14.9%)   China (3.9%)
China (12.0%)   USA (3.8%)

* Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Situated along the south Atlantic coast of Africa, Namibia is a presidential republic which gained independence from South Africa in 1990. The president, who is elected for a five year term, is the head of state and the chief of government. The country adopts a bicameral legislature consisting of a 42-seat upper house and a 104-seat lower house. The ruling party, the South West Africa People's Organisation (SWAPO), has dominated the political scene since independence and has a widespread presence throughout the country. Currently, the SWAPO holds absolute majority in both houses of parliament. The next presidential and legislative elections will take place in 2019.

 

Economic Trend

^Forecast
Source: The International Monetary Fund (IMF)


Namibia possesses rich deposits of natural resources, including diamonds, uranium, copper and gold. In particular, it is one of the world’s largest producers of uranium. The economy is highly influenced by the performance in its mining sector, which accounts for more than half of the foreign exchange earnings. The economy reached a turning point since 2016 and contracted by about 1% in 2017, as the temporary stimulus from large constructions in the mining sector dissipated, and the government continued consolidating to stabilize public debt. The IMF projects the economy to recover gradually in 2018 and return to positive growth in 2019, supported by a rebound in construction activities
.

 

Hong Kong – Namibia Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Namibia decreased by 8.9% from HK$94 million in 2016 to HK$86 million in 2017. The top three export categories to Namibia were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+13.7%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (-68.0%), and (3) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and electrical parts thereof (-52.2%), which represented 93.7% of total exports to Namibia.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restriction on covering Namibian buyers. In the past 12 months (from November 2017 to October 2018), there was no insured business on Namibia.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 15 November 2018

       
Flag and map of Cote D'ivoire

 
Key Information
Capital   Yamoussoukro
Population   24.3 million
Area   322,463 sq km
Currency   CFA franc (fixed to the euro at 1 EUR = 655.957 XAF)
Official language   French
Form of government   Presidential Republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 139 out of 190 in 2018 (↑3)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 50 out of 160 in 2018
Major Merchandise Exports (% of total, 2016*)   Major Merchandise Imports (% of total, 2016*)
Agricultural products (60.2%)   Manufactured products (55.5%)
Manufactured products (11.9%)   Agricultural products (19.8%)
Fuel and mining products (11.3%)   Fuel and mining products (14.0%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
Netherlands (11.8%)   Nigeria (15.0%)
USA (7.8%)   France (13.8%)
France (6.5%)   China (11.7%)

*Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, World Trade Organization

Political Highlights

 

Côte d’Ivoire (also known as Ivory Coast) became independent from France in 1960. It is a presidential republic whereby the president is both the head of state and head of government, while the legislature consists of the National Assembly with 255 members elected by universal suffrage for a five-year term. President Alassane Ouattara was re-elected in the last presidential election which took place in October 2015 for another 5 years term. Political tensions in the country have been tense, marked by conflicts over land and ethnicity, with the anticipation to rise again ahead of the 2020 presidential elections. In July 2018, Ouattara dissolved the government amid tensions between his ruling party Rally of the Republicans (RDR) and its coalition partner, the Democratic Party of Ivory Coast (PDCI) in the governing coalition. Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly was re-appointed to form a new cabinet. The rest of the government, including the key posts of finance and defence minister, remains vacant.

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast
Source: International Monetary Fund


Economic performance in Côte d’Ivoire has been impressive since 2012 with an average annual growth of about 9%. Economic activity was buoyant in 2017 despite external price shocks and social tensions. Real GDP growth was 7.8% for 2017, driven by high cocoa exports and crops due to favorable climatic conditions. Growth has been accompanied by a modest decline in poverty. However, the positive outlook is subject to risks from rising public debt coupled with tighter global financing conditions.

Hong Kong – Côte D’Ivoire Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Côte d’Ivoire increased by 30.5% from HK$283 million in 2016 to HK$369 million in 2017. The top three export categories to Côte d’Ivoire were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+48.9%), (2) non-ferrous metals (-10.3%), and (3) office machines and automatic data processing machines (-62.8%), which represented 90.5% of total exports to Côte d’Ivoire.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) offers coverage on buyers in Côte d’Ivoire with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC). In the past 12 months (from November 2017 to October 2018), there was no insured business on Côte d’Ivoire.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 12 November 2018

          


 
Key Information
Capital   Saint George's
Population   0.11 million
Area   344 sq km
Currency   East Caribbean Dollar (1 USD = 2.7018 XCD as of 9 November 2018)
Official language   English
Form of government   Constitutional Monarchy
Ease of doing business 2019 by World Bank   # 147 out of 190 (↓5)

Source: World Bank

Political Highlights

 

Grenada was independent from Britain and joined the Commonwealth in 1974. It is a constitutional monarchy with Queen Elizabeth II as the head of state and she is represented by the Governor General. The country adopts a bicameral legislature consisting of the House of Representatives with 15 members elected by universal suffrage for a five-year term, and the Senate with 13 members appointed for a five-year term by the Governor-General in consultation with the Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition. The Prime Minister serves as the head of the government and appoints the cabinet. The current government headed by Prime Minister Keith Mitchell led his New National Party (NNP) to an historic clean sweep of all 15 seats of the lower house in the election held in March 2018, having won the election on the strength of the favorable economic performance.

 

Economic Trend

*Estimate ^Forecast
Source: The International Monetary Fund (IMF)


Grenada has a small and open economy in the Caribbean Sea. The country is the world’s second largest producer of nutmeg. Over the past two decades, the economy has transformed from an agriculture-dominant to a services-dominant one, with tourism serving as the leading foreign currency earning sector. In 2017, Grenada experienced its fifth consecutive year of growth, driven by strong activity in construction, tourism, and education sectors.

The economy is projected to continue its growth for 2018 and 2019, thanks to supportive global economic conditions and continued strength in construction and tourism. While the outlook remains positive, the IMF said in a statement that continued policy resolve and public support for reforms are critical to restoring debt sustainability, improving medium‑term growth prospects, and strengthening the financial sector. Besides, the country’s current account deficit has widened in 2017, reflecting higher import growth. The deficit is projected to widen further in 2018 mostly due to recent increases in energy costs.

 

Hong Kong – Grenada Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Grenada decreased by 33.4% from HK$6.2 million in 2016 to HK$4.2 million in 2017. The top three export categories to Guinea were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+809.8%), (2) travel goods, handbags and similar containers, and (3) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and electrical parts thereof (+66.7%), which represented 82.8% of total exports to Grenada.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) offers coverage on buyers in Grenada with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC). In the past 12 months (from November 2017 to October 2018), there was no insured business on Grenada.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 9 November 2018

       
Flag and map of Gabon

 
Key Information
Capital   Libreville
Population   1.73 million
Area   267,667 sq km
Currency   CFA franc (pegged to the Euro at 1 Euro = 655.957 XAF)
Official language   French
Form of government   Presidential Republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 167 out of 190 in 2018 (↓3)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 150 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2016*)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 20176*
Fuels and mining products (75.5%)   Manufactured goods (74.8%)
Agricultural products (9.0%)   Agricultural products (18.5%)
Manufactured goods (4.3%)   Fuels and mining products (6.3%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
China (36.5%)   France (23.5%)
USA (10.0%)   Belgium (19.6%)
Ireland (8.5%)   China (15.1%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, World Trade Organisation
*Most recent data available

Political Highlights

 

Gabon, located on the west coast of Africa, is a presidential republic which gained independence from France in 1960. The president is both the head of state and chief of government, who is elected by popular vote for a seven-year term. The president appoints the prime minister, who is responsible for appointing the members of the Council of Ministers through consultation with the head of state. Currently, political power rests mainly with president Ali Bongo Ondimba, who has assumed office since 2009 and won his second term of office in 2016. The ruling party Parti démocratique gabonais (PDG) and its allies have won the parliamentary elections by an absolute majority in October 2018 and will continue to dominate the political landscape.

 

Economic Trend

*Estimate ^Forecast
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


The economy of Gabon is highly influenced by the performance of its oil and manganese production. In particular, the oil sector has accounted for an overwhelming 80% of the country’s exports and nearly half of the GDP. Economic growth slowed in 2017, owing to a slowdown in oil production partly due to work stoppages at some firms and the impact of fiscal consolidation on the commercial and service sectors. Nevertheless, oil production is likely to stabilize in 2018 thanks to higher international oil prices and the expectation of new oil fields which come into production.


In September 2018, the IMF views that Gabon’s medium-term economic outlook remains relatively favorable, as large foreign direct investment flows into new economic sectors would help Gabon shed its longstanding dependence on the oil sector and public spending. Broader reforms of the business environment are also contributing to the diversification and resilience of the economy and supporting the objective of achieving growth rates of 4 to 5% over the medium-term.
 

 

Hong Kong – Gabon Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Gabon increased by 41.6% from HK$115 million in 2016 to HK$163 million in 2017. The top three export categories to Gabon were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+144.1%), (2) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and electrical parts thereof (-33.3%), and (3) articles of apparel and clothing accessories (-48.3%), which represented 96.0% of total exports to Gabon.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering buyers in Gabon. In the past 12 months (from October 2017 to September 2018), there was no insured business on Gabon.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 31 October 2018

       
Flag and map of Gambia

 
Key Information
Capital   Banjul
Population   2.1 million
Area   11,300 sq km
Currency   Gambian Dalasi (1 GMD = 0.020 USD as of 30 October 2018)
Official language   English
Form of government   Unitary republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 146 out of 190 in 2018 (↓1)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 117 out of 137 in 2017/18 (↑6)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 127 out of 160 in 2018
Major Merchandise Exports (% of total, 2016*)   Major Merchandise Imports (% of total, 2016*)
Manufactures (71.1%)   Agricultural products (41.6%)
Agricultural products (27.3%)   Manufactures (35.8%)
Fuels and mining products (1.2%)   Fuels and mining products (16.1%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
Guinea-Bissau (51.4%)   Cote d'Ivoire (11.8%)
Vietnam (15.1%)   Brazil (10.6%)
Senegal (7.5%)   Spain (10.1%)

*Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, World Trade Organization

Political Highlights

 

Gambia is a unitary republic with the president as both the head of state and head of government elected by universal suffrage for a five-year term. Adama Barrow was elected as the country’s president in Jan 2017 after a 22 years rule by the former president Yahya Jammeh. Barrow’s allies and the ruling party United Democratic Party (UDP) won an absolute majority in the parliamentary elections in April 2017 and local elections in April 2018, supporting the new government and creating a more supportive political environment for reform. After two decades of authoritarian ruling by Jammeh, the new government outlined its 2018-2021 reform program seeking to restore the rule of law, deepen democracy, advance transitional justice, and transform the security sector. The next presidential election is scheduled in 2020 (Barrow has declared that he will serve only a three-year term).

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast
Source: International Monetary Fund


Gambia is one of the countries with the lowest GDP per capita. Its economy depends on trade, agriculture and tourism with over 70% of populations working in the agricultural sector. Economic activity in 2017 has rebounded as a result of improved trade relation with Senegal, favorable weather conditions and a pick-up in tourism. However, the country’s debt vulnerability remains high with large amount of external and domestic debt as well as a large pipeline of already-contracted loans that pose risks to solvency. In May 2018, the IMF has warned against the country’s high debt and added the government should strictly limiting reliance on external borrowing, even on concessional terms.

Hong Kong – Gambia Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Gambia increased by 567.9% from HK$8.9 million in 2016 to HK$59.6 million in 2017. The top three export categories to Gambia were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+687.2%), (2) general industrial machinery and equipment and machine parts (+1,615.2%), and (3) organic chemicals (2016: nil), which represented 98.7% of total exports to Gambia.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) offers coverage on Gambian buyers with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC).  In the past 12 months (from October 2017 to September 2018), there was no insured business on Gambia.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 30 October 2018

          
Flag and map of Chad

 
Key Information
Capital   N'Djamena
Population   14.9 million
Area   1,284,000 sq km
Currency   Central African CFA franc (fixed to the Euro at 1 EUR = 655.957 XAF)
Official language   French and Chadian Arabic
Form of government   Presidential Republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 180 out of 190 in 2018 (same as 2017)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 135 out of 137 in 2017/18 (↑1)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 123 out of 160 in 2018
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
USA (38.5%)   Cameroon (22.4%)
China (16.6%)   China (18.9%)
Netherland (15.6%)   France (16.2%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Chad is a landlocked nation in central Africa. The president, directly elected by universal suffrage, serves as both the chief of state and head of government. The incumbent president, Idriss Deby, who took power in 1990, has dominated the country's politics since then. The country adopts a unicameral legislature with 188 members in the National Assembly. The governing party Mouvement patriotique du salut (MPS) holds an absolute majority in the parliament and has a widespread presence throughout the country. Election for the parliament was originally due to be held in 2015, but had been delayed several times due to lack of sufficient funds and is now scheduled for February 2019.

 

Economic Trend

*Estimate ^Forecast
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


Chad has been listed on the Least Developed Countries (LDC) by the United Nation (UN) since 1971. The country is heavily dependent on its oil sector which generates about 60% of its export earnings. However, economic activity contracted in 2016 and 2017, as the country continued to suffer the impacts of underperformance of the oil sector due to technical problems and security concerns.


The government has launched its National Development Plan (2017-2021) to improve the economy’s competitiveness and reduce its reliance on oil production, including the development of value chains in agriculture, farming, fishing, and mining. Meanwhile, the country is supported by a three-year extended credit facility from the IMF in 2017, which is aimed to help Chad restoring macroeconomic stability and laying the foundation for robust and inclusive growth. The IMF had disbursed US$49 million to Chad in July 2018, bringing total disbursements under the arrangement to US$147 million
.
 

 

Hong Kong – Chad Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Chad increased by 40.0% from HK$25.86 million in 2016 to HK$36.19 million in 2017. The top three export categories to Chad were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+98.3%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+5.7%), and (3) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and electrical parts thereof (+2.7%), which represented 96.1% of total exports to Chad.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) offers coverage on Chadian buyers with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC). In the past 12 months (from October 2017 to September 2018), there was no insured business on Chad.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 26 October 2018

       
Flag and map of Congo

 
Key Information
Capital   Brazzaville
Population   4.95 million
Area   342,000 sq km
Currency   CFA franc (pegged to the Euro at 1 Euro = 655.957 XAF)
Official language   French
Form of government   Presidential republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 179 out of 190 in 2018 (↓2)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 126 out of 137 in 2017/18 (↑3)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 115 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2016*)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2016*)
Petroleum (78.0%)   Petroleum sector (49.9%)
Timber (6.0%)   Non-petroleum private sector (50.1%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
China (33.8%)   France (6.7%)
Angola (3.9%)   China (6.2%)
Gabon (3.6%)   Belgium (5.5%)

*Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

The Republic of Congo (referred to as “Congo”) is a presidential republic whereby the president acts as head of state and elected by universal suffrage to a maximum of three five-year terms. Current president, Denis Sassou Nguesso, was re-elected in March 2016 for his third term. The position of prime minister was reinstated in the 2015 constitutional referendum as head of government. Former finance minister Clement Mouamba was appointed as prime minister in 2016 to head a cabinet. The political environment has been relatively stable given the ruling Parti congolais du travail (PCT) won an absolute majority of 90 seats out of 151 at the National Assembly. The next presidential and legislative elections are due in 2021 and 2022 respectively.

 

Though there were sustained fiscal adjustments since 2015, the country’s economy remained imbalance with large and unsustainable debts.  The debt-laden has been trying to secure a bailout from International Monetary Fund (IMF) since 2017, which the IMF has asked the country to take bold and immediate governance reforms especially on anti-corruption effort before any package is considered.

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast
Source: International Monetary Fund


Congo is Africa's fourth-largest oil producer and its economy depends heavily on oil. The country encountered contraction for the past two years after a slump in oil prices. It is expected the economy will pick up in 2018 upon commercial production from new oilfields, including the deep offshore Moho North project and the Banga Kayo oilfield. Furthermore, the country’s fiscal and external imbalances are expected to reduce through fiscal consolidation efforts, the central bank’s tighter monetary policy and stricter enforcement of regulations. In Sep 2018, Standard & Poor’s raised its sovereign credit rating to B-/B from CCC+ with a stable rating outlook, citing the high external and fiscal vulnerabilities will lessen significantly in the coming years on higher oil production and prices.

Hong Kong – Congo Verde Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Congo decreased by 12.8% from HK$175.5 million in 2016 to HK$153 million in 2017. The top three export categories to Congo were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-3.8%), (2) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (-33.9%), and (3) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+22.8%), which represented 87.2% of total exports to Congo.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) offers coverage on Congolese buyers with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC).  In the past 12 months (from October 2017 to September 2018), there was no insured business on Congo.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 25 October 2018

            
Flag and map of Cabo Verde

 
Key Information
Capital   Praia
Population   0.56 million
Area   4,033 sq km
Currency   Cabo Verde escudo (pegged to the Euro at a rate of 1 EUR = 110.27 CVE))
Official language   Portuguese
Form of government   Unitary republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 127 out of 190 in 2018 (↑2)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 110 out of 137 in 2017/18 (-)
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2016*)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2016*)
Agricultural products (82.0%)   Manufactured products (57.1%)
Manufactured products (16.6%)   Agricultural products (33.3%)
Other (1.4%)   Fuels and mining products (9.5%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
Spain (45.1%)   Portugal (42.9%)
Portugal (40.1%)   Spain (12.6%)
Netherlands (8.1%)   Italy (4.6%)

*Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, World Trade Organization

Political Highlights

 

Cabo Verde is a unitary republic with the president as the head of state elected by universal suffrage to a maximum of two five-year terms. Current president, Jorge Carlos Fonseca, was re-elected in October 2016 for his second term. The prime minister is the head of government appointed by parliament. José Ulisses de Pina Correia e Silva sworn in as prime minister in April 2016 after his Movimento para a Democracia (MPD) ousted the ruling Partido Africano da Independência de Cabo Verde (PAICV) for the first time in 15 years. The political environment is relatively stable given the MPD’s absolute majority in the National Assembly. The next legislative and presidential elections are due in 2021.

 

Cabo Verde has made significant progress over the last few decades in economic and social development. The government's priorities are boosting growth and employment, promoting economic diversification and reining in the high public debt.

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


Cabo Verde comprises 10 islands and five islets. The economy mainly reliant on tourism and trade. With a more favorable external environment and double digit-growth in tourist arrivals, the country’s economy grew strongly in 2017.  However, the country remains dependent on oil imports that will result in higher inflation and widening current account deficit amid rise in global oil price. In addition, to combat the high level of government debts, IMF suggested to accelerating the reform process of loss-making state-owned enterprises to reduce government’s support to them. In August 2018, S&P affirmed their “B” rating and stable outlook, citing the risks of weaker-than-anticipated fiscal trajectory and balance-of-payments performance are offset by reasonably strong economic growth.

Hong Kong – Cabo Verde Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Cabo Verde increased by 265.9% from HK$12.6 million in 2016 to HK$46.2 million in 2017. The top three export categories to Cabo Verde were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+336.9%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+129.3%), and (3) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (+1,056.8%), which represented 99.5% of total exports to Cabo Verde.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restriction on covering Cabo Verdeans buyers.  In the past 12 months (from October 2017 to September 2018), there was no insured business on Cabo Verde.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 23 October 2018

          
Flag and map of Carmeroon

 
Key Information
Capital   Yaoundé
Population   24 million
Area   475,442 sq km
Currency   CFA franc (pegged to the Euro at 1 EUR = 655.96 XAF)
Official language   French and English
Form of government   Unitary Republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 163 out of 190 in 2018 (↑3)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 116 out of 137 in 2017/18 (↑3)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 95 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2016*)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2016*)
Agricultural products (47.0%)   Manufactures (53.3%)
Fuels and mining products (45.6%)   Fuels and mining products (26.5%)
Manufactures (7.4%)   Agricultural products (19.9%)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2017)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2017)
Italy (13.9%)   China (17.2%)
China (12.1%)   France (9.8%)
France (10.5%)   Thailand (5.1%)

*Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, World Trade Organization

Political Highlights

 

Cameroon is a unitary republic dominated by a strong presidency. The president retains the power to control legislation and rule by decree. Incumbent President Paul Biya has been in power since 1982, making him one of Africa's longest-serving rulers. In October 2018, Biya was re-elected for another seven-year term.

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast

Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Cameroon is the largest economy in the six-nation Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) economic bloc. The country’s macroeconomic performance has been mixed against the backdrop of slower economic activity and rising security concerns. Economic growth in 2017 slowed mostly owing to a 17% decline in oil production, while the non-oil sector activity remained buoyant and grew 4.7% led by construction, food industry and services. According to the IMF, growth is expected to rebound to 3.8% in 2018, driven by the start of natural gas production, construction for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations and improved energy supply.

  

Hong Kong – Cameroon Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Cameroon decreased by 36.6% from HK$914 million in 2016 to HK$579 million in 2017. The top three export categories to Cameroon were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-38.2%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (-4.7%), and (3) power generating machinery and equipment (+10451.2%), which represented 95.7% of total exports to Cameroon.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restriction on covering Cameroonian buyers. In the past 12 months (from October 2017 to September 2018), there was no insured business on Cameroon.



Please click
here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 19 Oct 2018

Flag and map of Mauritania

 
Key Information
Capital   Nouakchott
Population   3.76 million
Area   1,030,700 sq km
Currency   Ouguiya (1 MRO = 0.0028 USD as of 16 October 2018)
Official language   Arabic
Form of government   Islamic republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 150 out of 190 in 2018 (↑10)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 133 out of 137 in 2017/18 (↑4)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 135 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2016*)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2016*)
Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2016*)   Manufactures (56.9%)
Agricultural products (45.0%)   Fuels and mining products (22.1%)
Manufactures (0.2%)   Agricultural products (20.6%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
China (35.1%)   EU (28.5%)
EU (25.4%)   South Korea (18.1%)
South Korea (18.1%)   UAE (8.9%)

*Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, World Trade Organization

Political Highlights

 

Mauritania gained independence from France in 1960. It is an Islamic republic with the president as Head of State and its constitution is grounded in French civil law and sharia (Islamic law). Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz became the country’s president since 2009 and he named Yahya Ould Hademine as new prime minister in 2014. In the parliamentary election held in September 2018, the ruling Union pour la République (UPR) remained the single largest party and has won 89 of 157 seats. The next presidential election is due in mid-2019.

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit


Mauritania’s major industries included extraction (iron ore, gold and copper), fisheries and agriculture. Over half of the population relies on farming and raising livestock. The country registered a 3.5% economic growth in 2017, and growth in 2018 is expected to slow due mainly to the delayed impact of the drought on agriculture.  Inflation remained moderate at 2.3% on average in 2017, reflecting low global food price rises and stable non-tradable prices
.

 

Hong Kong – Mauritania Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Mauritania decreased by 65.2% from HK$23.5 million in 2016 to HK$8.2 million in 2017. The top three export categories to Mauritania were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-74.6%), (2) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (-12.5%), and (3) professional, scientific and controlling instruments and apparatus (+32.1%), which represented 83.4% of total exports to Mauritania.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) offers coverage on Mauritanian buyers with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC).  In the past 12 months (from October 2017 to September 2018), there was no insured business on Mauritania.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 16 October 2018

          
Flag and map of Burundi

 
Key Information
Capital   Bujumbura
Population   10.5 million
Area   26,338 sq km
Currency   Burundi franc (1 USD = 1,808.98 BIF as of 16 October 2018)
Official language   Kirundi and French
Form of government   Presidential Republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 164 out of 190 in 2018 (↓7)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 129 out of 137 in 2017/18 (↓6)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 158 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2016*)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2016*)
Food (76.2%)   Manufactured goods (63.3%)
Manufactured goods (18.5%)   Fuel (17.3%)
Ores and metals (4.5%)   Food (16.6%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
United Arab Emirates (25.7%)   India (14.2%)
Congo, Democratic Republic of the (16.1%)   China (13.8%)
Pakistan (8.7%)   Saudi Arabia (9.1%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit
*Most recent data available

Political Highlights

 

Burundi is a presidential republic which gained independence from Belgium in 1962. The president is the head of state, head of government and commander-in-chief of the armed forces, who is elected by popular vote for a five-year term. The incumbent president Pierre Nkurunziza won his third term in July 2015 and the next presidential election is scheduled for 2020.


Burundi has a long history of civil conflicts involving its competing ethnic groups between the Hutu majority (85% of the population) and the Tutsi minority (15% of the population). A brutal civil war broke out in 1993 which had severely battered the economy. Despite a peace agreement between the Hutu and Tutsi was signed in 2000, peace remained elusive as violence persisted in some parts of the country. The country faced another political unrest in 2015 sparked by the opposition against president Nkurunziza’s bid to stand for his third term of office.

 

Economic Trend

^ Forecast
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, International Monetary Fund (IMF)


 

Burundi has been listed on the Least Developed Countries (LDC) by the United Nation (UN) since 1971. Subsistence agriculture dominates its economy, accounting for nearly 40% of GDP and 80% of the population. Most Burundians remain afflicted by poverty and have limited access to food, water, sanitation and electricity. The high poverty rates represent the combined effects of stagnating economic growth, rapid increase in population and political fragility.

Economic growth is vulnerable as the country relies heavily on donor support from international community. Foreign aid represented over one-third of the country's national income in 2015-2016, among the highest level in Sub-Saharan Africa. Separately, the country will continue to run a structurally high current account deficit in coming years on account of a weak export base, an expected increase in oil price as well as the low level of foreign currency reserves.

 

Hong Kong – Burundi Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Burundi increased by 872.8% from HK$16 million in 2016 to HK$160 million in 2017. The top three export categories to Burundi were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+948.7%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+2,279.1%), and (3) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and electrical parts thereof (-37.2%), which represented 99.3% of total exports to Burundi.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) offers coverage on Burundian buyers with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC). In the past 12 months (from October 2017 to September 2018), there was no insured business on Burundi.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 16 October 2018

 

       
Flag and map of Guinea

 
Key Information
Capital   Conakry
Population   12.4 million
Area   245,857 sq km
Currency   Guinean franc (1 USD = 9,112.15 GNF as of 12 October 2018)
Official language   French
Form of government   Presidential Republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 153 out of 190 in 2018 (↑10)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 119 out of 137 in 2017/18
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 145 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Gold (47.9%)   Capital goods (49.4%)
Bauxite (45.2%)   Intermediate goods (10.9%)
Diamonds (3.1%)   Petroleum products (6.9%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
China (40.2%)   Netherlands (10.8%)
Ghana (17.3%)   China (8.3%)
UAE (9.5%)   India (7.7%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Guinea is a presidential republic located in the western Africa. The president, directly elected for a five-year team by universal suffrage, is both the Head of State and Chief of Government. The president appoints all key ministers, including the premier minister, and selects officials on most administrative levels. Currently, political power rests mainly with president Alpha Conde, who has assumed office since 2010 and gained his second term of office in the 2015 election. Local elections were held in February 2018, the first time since 2005. Ibrahima Kassory Fofana was named the country’s new prime minister and a new government took office in May 2018. Looking ahead, parliamentary elections are scheduled in early 2019 and presidential elections in 2020.

 

Economic Trend

* Estimate ^ Forecast # Actual
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


Guinea possesses valuable deposits of natural resources, including bauxite, iron, gold and diamonds. The economy is highly influenced by its mining activity, with mining sector accounting for over 95% of the country’s export revenue. Economic growth has remained above 8% over the past two years, attributable to the buoyant mining activity, strong construction activity and good agricultural performance, among other things.

The country’s current account deficit has narrowed in 2017, thanks to strong mining export growth, which increased by 79% in 2017, and continued inflows of foreign direct investments in the mining sector. The deficit is projected to widen in 2018 as a result of a surge in infrastructure spending and higher oil prices.

The country is supported by a three-year IMF financial package for about US$170 million. The facility is expected to support the government's 2016-20 National Socioeconomic Development Plan (PNDES), which aims to foster higher and more inclusive growth and reduce poverty through increased spending on infrastructure and social programmes.



  Hong Kong – Guinea Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Guinea increased by 24.2% from HK$100 million in 2016 to HK$124 million in 2017. The top three export categories to Guinea were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+37.1%), (2) power generating machinery and equipment (+305.1%), and (3) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and electrical parts thereof (+75.9%), which represented 90.3% of total exports to Guinea.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) offers coverage on Guinean buyers with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC). In the past 12 months (from October 2017 to September 2018), there was no insured business on Guinea.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 12 October 2018


       
Flag and map of Angola

 
Key Information
Capital   Luanda
Population   29.3 million
Area   1,246,700 sq km
Currency   Angola Kwanza (1 USD = 301.421 AOA as of 12 October 2018)
Official language   Portuguese
Form of government   Presidential Republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 175 out of 190 in 2018 (↑7)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 159 out of 160 in 2018
Major Merchandise Exports (% of total, 2016*)   Major Merchandise Imports (% of total, 2016*)
Crude oil (91.5%)   Consumer goods (66.3%)
Liquefied natural gas (4.0%)   Chemicals, minerals, paper & plastics (22.5%)
Diamonds (3.7%)   Intermediate goods (11.2%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
China (61.0%)   Portugal (17.7%)
India (13.0%)   China (13.4%)
South Africa (4.2%)   USA (7.3%)

*Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Angola gained independence from Portugal in 1975. It is a presidential republic where the president is both the head of state and head of government. In 2017, though narrowing compared to previous elections, the Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola (MPLA) party won a comfortable (two-third) majority in the National Assembly and retained control of the executive branch. João Lourenço was elected President, replacing José Eduardo dos Santos who stepped down after 38 years in power. Lower oil prices and an unsustainable policy mix in the run up to the August 2017 elections placed the Angolan economy under stress. The Government of President João Lourenço is now focusing on restoring macroeconomic stability and improving governance and business environment.

 

On the diplomatic front, there has been a structural shift in Angola's export markets in recent years, away from the US, which is steadily reducing its oil imports, and towards Asia, particularly China. In October 2018, Angola secured US$2 billion financing from the China Development Bank for infrastructure projects on João Lourenço’s first visit to Beijing.

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast 
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, International Monetary Fund


Angola is the third largest economy and second largest oil exporter in sub-Saharan Africa. Its economy is highly dependent on oil for both exports (over 90%) and fiscal revenue (around 50%). Lower oil prices since 2014 placed the Angolan economy under stress. Angola's currency and external debt face mounting pressure, with inflation running high at more than 20% a year and at least one in five of working age is jobless. The economy recovered modestly in 2018 but remains weighed down by an 8% contraction in the oil industry. In August 2018, credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P) has kept Angola’s rating unchanged at “B” in both local and foreign currency, as well as a stable economic outlook. In the statement, S&P expects the higher oil price will help Angola to reduce its budget deficit in the medium term and government reforms will support higher economic growth and government debt reduction from 2019 onward
.

 

Hong Kong – Angola Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Angola increased by 15.0% from HK$180 million in 2016 to HK$207 million in 2017. The top three export categories to Angola were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+74.1%), (2) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (-34.0%), and (3) office machines and automatic data processing machines (-49.8%), which represented 82.0% of total exports to Angola.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restriction on covering Angolan buyers. In the past 12 months (from October 2017 to September 2018), there was no insured business on Angola.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 12 October 2018

        
Flag and map of Djibouti

 
Key Information
Capital   Djibouti
Population   960,000
Area   23,200 sq km
Currency   Djibouti Franc (pegged to the US dollar, at 1 USD = 177.7 DJF)
Official language   French and Arabic
Form of government   Unitary Republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 154 out of 190 in 2018 (↑17)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 90 out of 160 in 2018
Top three export countries (% of total, 2017)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2017)
Somalia (24.3%)   UAE (26.0%)
Ethiopia (24.1%)   France (14.2%)
Brazil (11.3%)   Saudi Arabia (11.3%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Djibouti is a unitary republic wherein the president is the head of state elected by universal suffrage and serves a five years term. President Ismaël Omar Guelleh has ruled the country since 1999 and was last re-elected in 2016 with 87% of the votes. Guelleh's party, the Union pour la majorité présidentielle (UMP), also widened its majority in parliament by winning 57 of the 65 seats in the legislative elections held in February 2018.

 

In the medium term, positioning Djibouti as a regional trading and logistics hub will be the government's primary objective. Neighbor Ethiopia, with a population of over 100 million people and a rapidly growing economy, has long been dependent on Djibouti for its global import and export needs. Ethiopia accounts for more than 80% of traffic through Djibouti's ports and supplies the country with drinking water and hydropower, which reduces Djibouti's reliance on imported oil. The economic links between the two countries have brought considerable investment including the Djibouti-Addis Ababa railway which was officially inaugurated in January 2018, shortening travel time for goods and passengers.

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit


Djibouti’s economy is dependent on foreign financing, foreign direct investments, rents from foreign countries’ military bases, and port services, which capitalize on both the country’s strategic location at the southern entrance to the Red Sea and on being Ethiopia’s main external trade route. The country’s economic activity in recent years has remained buoyant, boosted by major public sector projects, in particular the railroad to Ethiopia, the construction of several new ports and a water pipeline from Ethiopia. However, despite the remarkable growth, poverty remains high with more than 23% of the population living in extreme poverty.
 

Hong Kong – Djibouti Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Djibouti increased by 301.4% from HK$15.4 million in 2016 to HK$61.9 million in 2017. The top three export categories to Djibouti were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+386.3%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+4523.7%), and (3) professional, scientific and controlling instruments and apparatus (+5362.4%), which represented 67.3% of total exports to Djibouti.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restriction on covering Djibouti buyers. In the past 12 months (from October 2017 to September 2018), there was no insured business on Djibouti.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 10 Oct 2018

        
Flag and map of Somalia

 
Key Information
Capital   Mogadishu
Population   14.3 million
Area   637,600 sq km
Currency   Somali Shilling (1 USD = 577.9 SOS as of 8 October 2018)
Official language   Somali, Arabic
Form of government   Federal Republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 190 out of 190 in 2018 (same as 2017)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 144 out of 160 in 2018
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
UAE (33.3%)   Djibouti (18.0%)
Yemen (18.9%)   China (17.6%)
Oman (16.6%)   Oman (11.3%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Somalia was a British protectorate until 1960 and collapsed into anarchy following the overthrow of the military regime of President Siad Barre in 1991. Although an internationally-backed government was established in 2012, the country continues to suffer from the effects of almost thirty years of civil war which has raged across all three largely autonomous zones: Somaliland, Puntland and South Central Somalia. The president is the head of state of Somalia and the commander-in-chief of the Somali Armed Forces. The current president is Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed elected in 2017. The next legislative and presidential elections are scheduled for 2020, when the government is planning to hold the first popular vote in decades.

 

Political conditions remain challenging from both internal and external perspectives. Internally, recent armed conflict between Somaliland and Puntland could pose a risk to regional stability. Externally, relations with foreign partners will remain crucially important for the country’s overall stability, given its dependence on aid and foreign militaries.

 

Economic Trend

*Forecast
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


Despite recent progress on state and peace building and economic reform, Somalia continues to face significant development and social challenges. The pastoral livestock industry is the mainstay of the economy, employing around 60% of the population and generating an estimated 80% of the country's foreign-exchange receipts. However, the severe drought in 2016-17 devastated the industry and it will take several years for herders to rebuild their livelihoods. While the ongoing favorable rainy season in 2018 may support economic recovery, recent floods in central and southern Somalia could lead to food insecurity in some areas. The authorities are developing programs, with the help of donors, to improve overall economic and social resilience
.

 

Hong Kong – Somalia Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Somalia increased by 7.1% from HK$13.5 million in 2016 to HK$14.5 million in 2017. The top three export categories to Somalia were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+1495.5%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+67.3%), and (3) professional, scientific and controlling instruments and apparatus (-42.6%), which represented 74.1% of total exports to Somalia.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) offers coverage on Somalia buyers with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC). In the past 12 months (from October 2017 to September 2018), there was no insured business on Somalia.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 8 Oct 2018

         
Flag and map of Algeria

 
Key Information
Capital   Algiers
Population   40.8 million
Area   2,381,741 sq km
Currency   Algerian dinar (1 USD = 119.014 DZD as of 5 Oct 2018)
Official language   Arabic
Form of government   Semi-presidential republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 166 out of 190 in 2018 (↓10)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 86 out of 137 in 2017/18 (↑1)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 117 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2016*)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2016*)
Fuels and mining products (95.4%)   Manufactured goods (74.4%)
Manufactured goods (3.4%)   Agricultural products (20.6%)
Agricultural products (1.2%)   Fuels and mining products (5.0%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
Italy (17.1%)   China (17.6%)
Spain (12.8%)   France (8.8%)
France (11.7%)   Italy (7.7%)

* Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, World Trade Organization

Political Highlights

 

Algeria is the largest country in Africa which emerged as a republic in 1962. The president, directly elected by universal suffrage, is the Head of State and Commander-In-Chief of the armed forces for a five-year term. The president appoints the prime minister as Head of Government, who subsequently appoints the members of the Council of Ministers. Currently, political power rests mainly with president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who has assumed office since 1999 and gained his fourth term of office in the 2014 election. The next presidential election is due in April 2019.


On the diplomatic front, Algeria will seek to maintain its close ties with Europe, as Europe is the major market for its gas exports. On the other hand, Algeria’s relation with its neighbor Morocco remains complicated by their opposing views on the status of the disputed territory of Western Sahara.

 

Economic Trend

*Estimate ^Forecast
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit


Algeria’s economy is highly influenced by the performance in its oil and gas sector, with hydrocarbon production accounting for approximately one-thirds of GDP and an overwhelming 95% of the country’s export revenue. Economic growth has slowed in recent years, owing to a slowdown in hydrocarbon production on lower OPEC quotas and weaker external demand. In particular, hydrocarbon production contracted by 3% in 2017, compared to a 7.7% expansion in 2016. Nevertheless, non-hydrocarbon growth is expected to tick up in 2018 following a 2.3% and 2.6% growth in 2016 and 2017 respectively.


The country’s current account deficit has stood at a relatively high level due to falling oil prices in previous years. To reduce the imbalance, the authorities advanced the energy subsidy reform by raising fuel and electricity taxes as well as imposed tighter import controls. The deficit is projected to narrow in 2018, reflecting the impact of fiscal consolidation and trade policies as well as the recovering oil prices. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) views that, the authorities’ near to medium-term objectives are to restore macroeconomic stability and create jobs, among other things, and diversify the economy with greater private sector participation in the long run.
 

Hong Kong – Algeria Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Algeria decreased by 42.0% from HK$2,374 million in 2016 to HK$1,377 million in 2017. The top three export categories to Algeria were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-45.1%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (-24.8%), and (3) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and electrical parts thereof (+13.5%), which represented 94.4% of total exports to Algeria.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Algerian buyers. In the past 12 months (from October 2017 to September 2018), there was no claim payment or payment difficulty case reported against Algerian buyers.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 5 October 2018

 

       
Flag and map of Costa Rica

 
Key Information
Capital   San Jose
Population   4.93 million
Area   51,100 sq km
Currency   Costa Rican colon (1 CRC = 0.0017 USD as of 5 October 2018)
Official language   Spanish
Form of government   Presidential Republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 61 out of 190 in 2018 (↑1)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 47 out of 137 in 2017/18 (↑7)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 73 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2016*)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2016*)
Maquila (49.3%)    Intermediate goods (37.6%)
Manufactured goods (23.2%)   Consumer goods (29.6%)
Non-traditional agricultural (13.1%)   Capital goods (22.0%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
USA (40.8%)   USA (38.4%)
Netherlands (6.4%)   China (13.1%)
Belgium (5.4%)   Mexico (7.1%)

*Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Costa Rica is a presidential republic wherein the president is the Head of State and Head of Government elected by universal suffrage for a four-year term. The country’s political environment has been relatively stable in the past years. Re-election of the president and vice-president is permitted, but not consecutively. Carlos Alvarado Quesada, a former cabinet minister belonging to the Partido Accion Ciudadana (PAC) party, took office as President in May 2018.

 

To address the country's growing fiscal deficit, the government has published its plan to a new Value Added Tax (VAT) regime to replace its existing sales tax system. The main purpose of the tax reform is to convert the sales tax of 13% into a VAT with the same rate, and expand it to goods and services that are currently from exemption.

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit


Costa Rica is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Central America. Its traditional agricultural exports of bananas, coffee, sugar and beef are the backbone of its revenues. Economic growth in recent years continued to be solid but has slowed down, and the strengthening of fiscal position remains a major policy challenge. The external position remains stable as robust growth in exports and tourist arrivals are dampening the negative effect on the current account of recovering oil prices. However, the country’s public debt load has been on the rise since 2008 caused by persistently high fiscal deficit as there is lack of political consensus in the implementation of fiscal consolidation.

Hong Kong – Costa Rica Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Costa Rica decreased by 24.3% from HK$1,128 million in 2016 to HK$854 million in 2017. The top three export categories to Costa Rica were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-21.0%), (2) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (-5.0%), and (3) office machines and automatic data processing machines (-49.2%), which represented 90.0% of total exports to Costa Rica.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Costa Rican buyers. In the past 12 months (from Oct 2017 to Sep 2018), there was no claim payment or payment difficult case reported against Costa Rican buyers.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 5 October 2018

          
Flag and map of Philippines

 
Key Information
Capital   Manila
Population   102.3 million
Area   300,179 sq km
Currency   Philippine peso (1 USD = 54.2512 PHP as of 26 September 2018)
Official language   Filipino and English
Form of government   Presidential republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 113 out of 190 in 2018 (↓14)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 56 out of 137 in 2017/18 (↑1)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 60 out of 160 in 2018
 
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Electronics (48.8%)   Raw materials & intermediate goods (35.0%)
Machinery & transport equipment (7.7%)   Capital goods (29.4%)
Mineral products (5.8%)   Consumer goods (15.8%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
Japan (14.9%)   China (16.5%)
USA (13.4%)   Japan (10.4%)
Hong Kong (12.6%)   Republic of Korea (7.9%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

The Philippines is a republic with a presidential form of government wherein power is equally divided among its three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial. The president, who is limited to a single six-year term, is both the head of state and head of government. The mid-term elections for the seats in Senate and House of Representatives are scheduled in May 2019.

The Philippines has faced separatist movements for four decades in the southern region. The previous Aquino administration and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the country’s largest Muslim rebel group, signed a comprehensive peace agreement in 2014. The deal grants the Mindanao region greater political autonomy in exchange for MILF’s abandoning full independence from the country. In July 2018, president Duterte signed the long-delayed law (Bangsamoro Organic Law), commencing the long and complicated process to implement the 2014 peace agreement with the MILF.

 

Economic Trend

^Forecast
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit


The Philippines has been one of Asia’s strong performers over the past years. Sound policies and a favorable external environment have delivered robust growth. Real GDP grew at 6.7% in 2017 and 6.3% in the first half 2018. The solid growth in recent years was aided by strong domestic demand thanks to increasing urbanization, growing middle-income class and substantial remittance inflows from Filipinos working abroad. Private consumption, which accounts for more than 70% of GDP, makes the largest contribution to overall economic growth. Credit rating agency Moody's expects the country's robust economic growth to be sustained over the next few years, citing the government's focus on infrastructure development reinforces the decade-long trend of increasing potential growth.


Foreign direct investment in the Philippines increased to a historic high of US$10 billion in 2017, while still lagging behind its regional peers such as Indonesia and Vietnam. Separately, despite recent tightening of monetary policy, inflation is projected to remain above the 4%, due to a mixture of weaker peso and a continued increase in global commodity prices.
 

 

Hong Kong – Philippines Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to the Philippines increased by 12.0% from HK$25,400 million in 2016 to HK$28,455 million in 2017. The top three export categories to the Philippines were: (1) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and electrical parts thereof (+36.1%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (-0.5%), and (3) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+12.0%), which represented 84.0% of total exports to the Philippines.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Philippine buyers. Currently, the insured buyers in the Philippines range from small and medium sized companies to subsidiaries of listed companies. For 2017, the number and the amount of credit limit applications on the Philippines decreased by 10.6% and 84.4% respectively, while the insured business increased by 43.8%. Major insured products were electronics, chemical products and textiles, which represented 64.3% of HKECIC’s insured business on the Philippines. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Philippines has been satisfactory, with no payment difficulty or claim payment case reported during the past 12 months (from September 2017 to August 2018).

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 26 September 2018

       
Flag and map of Palestine

 
Key Information
Population   4.9 million
Area   West Bank: about 5,800 sq km; Gaza Strip: 365 sq km
Currency   Israeli New Shekel (ILS), Jordanian Dinar (JOD) (As of 24 September 2018, 1 ILS = 0.2798 USD, 1 JOD = 1.410 USD)
Official language   Arabic
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
Israel (79.8%)    Israel (58.1%)
Arab states (16.6%)   EU (12.4%)
Other (3.6%)   Arab states (6.2%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Palestine is an Arab state consisting of two distinct areas: the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. In the West Bank, Fatah, formerly known as the Palestinian National Liberation Movement, a secular political party lead by Mahmoud Abbas, is in power. In the Gaza Strip, the government is led by the Islamist group Hamas. Fatah and Hamas agreed to hold belated presidential and legislative council elections before the end of 2018, but chances of them being held are receding as a result of differences in ideology and attitude towards Israel conflict.

 

Palestine has had a long-standing conflict with Israel, Palestinians and Israeli Jews both claim descent from the ancient peoples of the lands they now contest. Israel refuses to consider Hamas a legitimate government, and only considers the leadership of the West Bank to be its legitimate negotiating partner. Since the Hamas’ group controlled the Gaza Strip in 2007, they have fought three wars with Israel. Despite the United Nations (UN) and Egyptian officials’ efforts to broker a peace deal in the past two decades, Israeli-Palestinian talks have remained stalled.

 

Economic Trend

The lack of peace has created a challenging economic situation in Palestine. Donor support has significantly declined in recent years and investor confidence remains weak because of the lack of political progress and ongoing restrictions put in place by Israel. According to the IMF, despite still solid growth in the West Bank, the sharp decline in activity in Gaza weighed on the Palestinian economy. In the first quarter of 2018, economic growth in the West Bank was close to 5% while the 6% decline in Gaza brought the overall growth rate down to 2%.

Palestine does not have its own currency. In the West Bank, the Israeli new shekel and Jordanian dinar are widely accepted. In recent years, attempts have been made to reduce reliance on the shekel, but there has been no significant progress
.

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) offers coverage on buyers in Palestine with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC). In the past 12 months (from September 2017 to August 2018), there was no insured business on Palestine.

 

Last update: 24 Sep 2018

           
Flag and map of Kyrgyzstan

 
Key Information
Capital   Bishkek
Population   6.0 million
Area   199,951 sq km
Currency   Kyrgystani Som (1 USD = 68.85 KGS as of 20 September 2018)
Official language   Kyrgyz and Russian
Form of government   Parliamentary Republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 77 out of 190 in 2018 (↓2)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 102 out of 138 in 2016/17 (↑9)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 108 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Precious metals & stones (40.2%)   Mineral products (14.8%)
Mineral products (13.6%)   Machinery & equipment (13.8%)
Textiles (9.6%)   Chemicals (8.7%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
Switzerland (27.7%)   Russia (26.3%)
Kazakhstan (16.7%)   Kazakhstan (13.0%)
Russia (14.8%)   Turkey (5.0%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Kyrgyzstan, officially the Kyrgyz Republic, has been one of most unstable country in Central Asia, experiencing multiple revolutions and major ethnic violencein the early 1990s and in 2010. The country adopted a new constitution after the 2010 revolution, establishing a predominantly parliamentary system of government. In December 2016, further amendments to the constitution were made that shifted further powers from the presidency to the parliament and the prime minister. The amendments prevent the president from dismissing parliament or calling early elections. Sooronbai Zheenbekov, the Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan (SDPK) candidate and a former prime minister, was elected as the country’s president in October 2017 and Mukhammedkaliy Abylgaziyev was nominated by SDPK as the prime minister in April 2018. The next parliamentary election is due in October 2020.

 

Kyrgyzstan joined the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) in 2015. The union aims to create a single market for the free movement of goods and services over a total population of more than 180 million people, in a similar way as the European Union. Kazakstan is one of Kyrgyzstan’s largest trading partner and also the main destination for exports of food and agricultural products, as well as the key transit country for trade with Russia and Eastern Europe. While bilateral relations have historically been cordial, their recent trade disputes in late 2017 have increased tensions. Specifically, Kazakhstan enforced strict controls and customs checks of goods from Kyrgyzstan, claiming the need to properly track the goods entering the EEU through the Kyrgyz borders. The dispute was resolved in December 2017 after an agreement was reached between the two countries.

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit


The improving regional environment boosted the country’s economic activity, although the border tension with Kazakhstan slowed trade and dampened activity in late 2017. Economic growth reached 4.5% in 2017 and the main driver of growth was the industrial sector with a growth rate of 11.8%. Increased remittances and gold exports have narrowed the current account deficit and shored up foreign exchange reserves. Together with relatively low food and energy prices the country has kept inflation below the 5-7% target range despite the increase in economic activity.

The country was supported by a US$ 94.2 million three-year Extended Credit Facility (ECF) approved by the IMF in 2015. In exchange for the assistance, the government is required to implement prudent macroeconomic policies and structural reforms. Fiscal consolidation remains essential to rebuild buffers and ensure debt sustainability. Consolidation include focus on increasing tax revenues by implementing permanent measures, such as broadening the tax base and strengthening the tax and custom administration
.

 

Hong Kong – Kyrgyzstan Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Kyrgyzstan increased by 54.5% from HK$59 million in 2016 to HK$91 million in 2017. The top three export categories to Kyrgyzstan were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+67.6%), (2) photographic apparatus, equipment and supplies and optical goods; watches and clocks (+125.2%), and (3) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (+113.1%), which represented 92.5% of total exports to Kyrgyzstan.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) offers coverage on Kyrgyzstani buyers with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC). In the past 12 months (from September 2017 to August 2018), there was no insured business on Kyrgyzstan.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 21 Sep 2018

          
Flag and map of Thailand

 
Key Information
Capital   Georgetown
Population   0.74 million
Area   214,969 sq km
Currency   Guyana Dollar (1 GYD = 0.00476 USD as of 19 September 2018)
Official language   English
Form of government   Presidential republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 126 out of 190 in 2018 (↓2)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 132 out of 160 in 2018
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
Canada (22.9%)   Trinidad and Tobago (27.5%)
European Union (16.9%)   USA (26.5%)
USA (15.9%)   China (8.9%)

Sources: Economist Intelligence Unit, World Trade Organisation

Political Highlights

 

Guyana is a presidential republic wherein the president is the Head of State, Head of Government and Commander-In-Chief of the armed forces. In 2015, a centre-left coalition government was formed consisting of A Partnership for National Unity (APNU, a mainly Afro-Guyanese group) and the Alliance for Change (AFC), led by president David Granger, and holds a slim majority of just 33 of 65 seats in the National Assembly. The opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C), a largely Indo-Guyanese party, holds nearly one-half of the seats, enabling it to block attempts to reform the constitution. The next general election is due by May 2020.

 

Economic Trend

*Forecast
Source: International Monetary Fund


Subsistence agriculture on the basis of primitive methods and mining are Guyana's most important economic activities. The country’s top exports are gold, rice, bauxite and raw sugar. Economic growth slowed in 2017 on the account of lower than expected mining output and weak performance in the sugar sector. Economic growth is projected to be 3.4% in 2018, driven by continued strength in the construction and rice sectors, and a recovery in gold mining, according to the IMF.

The recent discovery of large offshore oil reserves in 2015 will boost the country’s economic situation. Oil production is expected to commence in 2020, and have significantly improved the country’s medium and long term outlook.

 

Hong Kong – Guyana Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Guyana decreased by 7.3% from HK$14.4 million in 2016 to HK$13.4 million in 2017. The top three export categories to Guyana were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+174.3%), (2) manufactures of metals (-17.8%), and (3) power generating machinery and equipment (+100%), which represented 75.0% of total exports to Guyana.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) offers coverage on Guyanese buyers with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC).  In the past 12 months (from September 2017 to August 2018), there was no insured business on Guyana.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 19 September 2018

       
Flag and map of Thailand

 
Key Information
Capital   Alofi
Population   1,618
Area   260 sq km
Currency   New Zealand dollar (1 USD = 1.52343 NZD as of 17 September 2018)
Official language   English, Niuean
Form of government   Self-governing parliamentary democracy

Source: The World Factbook

Political Highlights

 

Situated at a large upraised coral atoll in the South Pacific Ocean, Niue became a British Protectorate in 1900 and was annexed to New Zealand in 1901. In 1974, the people of Niue adopted a Constitution providing for self-government in free association with New Zealand. Under the Constitution, New Zealand provides necessary economic and administrative assistance, and is responsible for the country's defence. The British monarch is the head of state, while the premier is the head of government who is elected by the unicameral legislative assembly for a three-year team. Toke Talagi has been the country’s primer since 2008 and was re-elected in 2011, 2014 and 2017.

 

Economic Trend

Niue’s economy faces many constraints including limited land, poor soil and a lack of skilled professionals. In particular, the country has suffered a declining population in recent years. As Niueans are New Zealand citizens, many Niueans had emigrated to New Zealand for the purpose of working or studying. The economy is heavily reliant on the financial aid from and trade with New Zealand, including the New Zealand Aid Programme, which is aimed to support Niue’s government to provide core public services and develop the tourism industry. Besides, New Zealand is also the biggest trading partner of Niue, who depends on imported fuel and food from New Zealand to supplement its subsistence agriculture and fishing.

    

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (ECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Niueans buyers. In the past 12 months (from September 2017 to August 2018), there was no insured business on Niue.

Last update: 17 September 2018

       
Flag and map of Uruguay

 
Key Information
Capital   Montevideo
Population   3.4 million
Area   176,065 sq km
Currency   Uruguayan Peso (1 USD = 32.5895 UYU as of 13 September 2018)
Official language   Spanish
Form of government   Presidential Republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 94 out of 190 in 2018 (↓4)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 76 out of 138 in 2017/18 (↓3)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 85 out of 160 in 2018
Major Merchandise Exports (% of total, 2016*)   Major Merchandise Imports (% of total, 2016*)
Agricultural products (77.7%)   Manufactured products (73.6%)
Manufactured products (20.2%)   Agricultural products (15.2%)
Fuels and mining products (1.5%)   Fuels and mining products (11.1%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
China (18.8%)   China (20.0%)
Brazil (16.5%)   Brazil (19.5%)
European Union (11.0%)   European Union (15.5%)

*Most recent data available
Sources: Economist Intelligence Unit, World Trade Organization

Political Highlights

 

Uruguay is a constitutional republic with an elected president and a bicameral legislature. It has a strong democracy and ranks highly in global institutional quality rankings. The broad political consensus has anchored the country’s political and economic stability. President Tabaré Vázquez assumed office in 2015 for a five-year term and the next presidential and parliamentary elections are scheduled in October 2019. Owing to term limit, Vázquez is barred for the next presidential election while his administration will continue to target growth and fiscal consolidation for the remaining period.

 

The Vázquez government's main goal is to boost Uruguay’s access to international export markets as a means of accelerating economic growth. The European Union (EU) and South America’s Mercosur bloc (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay) began a fresh round of trade talks in June 2018 with renewed optimism that negotiators may be nearing an accord. After 20 years of talks, the two sides have agreed most chapters in the accord, but differences over farm and auto industry issues remain.

 

Economic Trend

*Forecast
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


Uruguay has been growing consistently over the past decade, and it recorded stronger GDP growth in 2017. A relatively tight monetary policy stance and an appreciating exchange rate have contributed to a notable decline in inflation, bringing it within the central bank’s target range of 3-7% for the first time in seven years. The current account balance has been improving and is now in surplus, while the government has reduced its fiscal deficit and continues to be able to access international markets on favorable terms. The increase in unemployment since 2014 has come to a halt (7.8% in July 2018), and the new round of wage negotiations the government initiated in March 2018 should contribute to reducing unemployment gradually to 7.3% by 2021, according to estimates by S&P.

Uruguay is a largely middle-class society with a relatively strong social contract that emphasizes consensus and social cohesion. The country has become increasingly integrated in world markets, benefitting from large inward foreign direct investment
.

 

Hong Kong – Uruguay Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Uruguay increased by 21.2% from HK$647 million in 2016 to HK$784 million in 2017. The top three export categories to Uruguay were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+63.6%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+50.7%), and (3) tobacco and tobacco manufactures (-40.7%), which represented 79.9% of total exports to Uruguay.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restriction on covering Uruguay buyers. In the past 12 months (from September 2017 to August 2018), there was no claim payment or payment difficulty case reported against Uruguay buyers.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 13 September 2018

        
Flag and map of Bangladesh

 
Key Information
Capital   Dhaka
Population   157.8 million
Area   148,460 sq km
Currency   Bangladeshi Taka (1 BDT = 0.012 USD as of 13 September 2018)
Official language   Bangla
Form of government   Parliamentary Republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 177 out of 190 in 2018 (↓1)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 99 out of 137 in 2017/18 (↑7)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 100 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Readymade garments (68.7%)   Textiles (8.9%)
Jute products (2.5%)   Capital machinery (7.9%)
Leather products (1.6%)   Iron & steel (7.3%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
Germany (12.9%)   China (21.9%)
US (12.2%)   India (15.2%)
UK (8.7%)   Singapore (5.7%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Bangladesh is a federal republic governed under a parliamentary system. The secular and ruling centre-left Awami League (AL) has been in power since 2009. It has been focusing on improving ties with India and limiting religious influences in politics. The president is the Head of State while the prime minister is the Head of Government. The legislature is a unicameral consisting of 350 seats of which 300 of them from the territorial constituencies and the remaining are reserved for women appointed by political parties. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was re-elected for her third term for another five years in 2014 after the ruling AL won a landslide victory in the general election. The next general election is due by December 2018, and it expect that the AL to maintain its majority in parliament.

 

The country is officially a secular society but with its Muslim-majority, the country has seen a rise of conflict and violent attacks. Tension between secularists and conservative Muslims will continue to pose threats to social stability. Although the country was classified as a lower middle income country by the World Bank and the government has made substantial progress in reducing poverty, almost 25% of the populations are still living in poverty. The government's priority is to promote economic development and continue to maintain its broadly business-friendly policies, in order to promote private-sector participation in the economy and attract foreign investment.

 

Economic Trend

* Estimates  ^Forecast
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit


Bangladesh is the second biggest garment supplier in the world, accounting for 6.5% share of the market in 2017, according to the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Garment manufacturing is the backbone of the country’s economy, generating approximately 80% of total export revenues. With plentiful supply of low-cost labor force, the country has been able to attract increasing amount of foreign direct investment in the sector. The consistent economic growth of over 6% over the past decade has made the country one of the world’s fastest-growing economies.

The government has implemented consistent monetary policy and fiscal discipline that help in stable economic growth in recent years. Inflation has eased to 5.5% in August 2018, helped in part by favorable agricultural production. Infrastructure remains the bottlenecks of economic growth in Bangladesh. The World Bank estimated that Bangladesh must spend US$7.4 billion – US$10 billion a year until 2020 to bring its power grids, roads and water supplies up to the standard needed to serve its growing population. Other priority sectors identified by the World Bank included water supply and sanitation, solid waste management, and telecommunications
.

 

Hong Kong – Bangladesh Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Bangladesh increased by 1.0% from HK$11,616 million in 2016 to HK$11,757 million in 2017. The top three export categories to Bangladesh were: (1) textile yarn, fabrics, made-up articles and related products (-3.3%), (2) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+13.5%), and (3) articles of apparel and clothing accessories (-2.7%), which represented 68.0% of total exports to Bangladesh.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Bangladeshi buyers. In the past 12 months (from September 2017 to August 2018), the insured business from Bangladesh was limited and there was no claim payment or payment difficulty case reported.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 13 September 2018

        
Flag and map of Dominica

 
Key Information
Capital   Roseau
Population   0.07 million
Area   750 sq km
Currency   East Caribbean Dollar (fixed rate with USD, 1 USD = 2.7169 XCD)
Official language   English, French Patois
Form of government   Republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 98 out of 190 in 2018 (↑3)

Source: The World Factbook

Political Highlights

 

The Commonwealth of Dominica (“Dominica”) is a republic with a non-executive presidency and parliamentary democracy. The president is the head of state elected by the House of Assembly and holds office for a term of five years, while executive power rests with the cabinet headed by the prime minister. Roosevelt Skerrit has been the country’s prime minister since 2004 and was re-appointed in 2009 and 2014. The unicameral parliament consists of a 30 members of which 21 of them are directly elected by universal suffrage.

 

While Dominica was still recovering from tropical storm Erika in 2015, the country was hard hit by the Hurricane Maria in September 2017, and living conditions have been tough ever since, as Maria caused widespread devastation with damages estimated at US$1.3 billion, or 226% of GDP. Economic recovery and reconstructions continued to dominate the political agenda. The government’s key priorities include securing financial backing for its new airport project, the key to expansion of the tourism industry, as well as helping farmers to adopt climate-smart practices and encourage resilient building practices in the housing sector.

 

Economic Trend

*Forecast
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


In September 2017, the Hurricane Maria affected almost every household and economic sector of Dominica. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected that the island’s output will decrease by 14% in 2018, largely due to the steep decline in agriculture and tourism services. The fall in output and government revenue, coupled with increased expenditure for rehabilitation and reconstruction, will lead to a substantial worsening of fiscal and external deficits.

The country’s near-term current account deficits will be financed mainly with official and bilateral loans, grants, and use of government deposits. The World Bank has approved a financing package of US$ 115 million over 3 years, of which US$ 75 million were concessional loans and the remainder was grants. The government is implementing cost-effective fiscal policies to support the recovery while containing the expansion of public debt
.

 

ECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (ECIC) imposes no restriction on covering Dominica buyers. In the past 12 months (from September 2017 to August 2018), there was no insured business on Dominica.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 12 September 2018

        
Flag and map of Thailand

 
Key Information
Capital   Athens
Population   10.8 million
Area   131,957 sq km
Currency   Euro (1 EUR = 1.16305 USD as of 11 September 2018)
Official language   Greek
Form of government   Parliamentary Republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 67 out of 190 in 2018 (↓6)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 87 out of 140 in 2017/18 (↓1)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 42 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Mineral fuels, lubricants & related materials (31.1%)   Mineral fuels, lubricants & related materials (24.3%)
Food, drinks & tobacco (17.5%)   Machinery & transport equipment (22.4%)
Chemicals & related products (10.6%)   Chemicals & related products (14.8%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
Italy (10.6%)   Germany (10.5%)
Germany (7.1%)   Italy (8.1%)
Turkey (6.8%)   Russia (6.8%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Greece is a parliamentary republic with 300 members directly elected for a four-year term. The president is the head of state without executive powers while the prime minister is the head of government. Political uncertainty has increased following the outbreak of the Greek debt crisis in 2009, which the country has held four snap elections since then. The current coalition government, led by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, consists of Syriza Coalition of the Radical Left (Syriza) and the nationalist Independent Greeks (AE). The government has only a slim majority in the parliament and is vulnerable to another early election as there remains strong political and popular opposition to the austerity measures. The next parliamentary election is due by October 2019.

Greece faces the challenges of managing the refugee crisis. More than 1 million refugees and migrants arrived in Greece in 2015 and early 2016, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency. Despite a decline in arrival in 2016, the influx began increasing again from the second half of 2017, when the Greek government began taking over full responsibility for Greece’s refugee response. The refugee crisis is putting pressure on the government and adding burden to Greece’s already strained economy.

Separately, Greece and Macedonia set aside three decades of Macedonia naming dispute as the two countries reached a historic accord in June 2018. Under the deal, Macedonia will rename itself the “Republic of North Macedonia” which replaces the interim name “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” under which it joined the United Nations 23 years ago.

 

Economic Trend

^Forecast
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit


Greece faced the sovereign debt crisis in the aftermath of the global financial crisis of 2007-08. The country asked for a financial rescue by the European Union (EU) and International Monetary Fund (IMF), with the first bailout loan began in 2010. In return for the loan, the EU required Greece to adopt austerity measures. These reforms were intended to strengthen the Greek government and financial structures. In August 2018, Greece has finally emerged from eight years of international bailouts.  Following years of financial aids, the economy exhibited a small growth of 1.3% in 2017, reversing a contraction in the last two years. Growth in 2018 remained in positive territory for a second consecutive quarter, with the economy expanded by 0.2% in Q2 2018 quarter on quarter, from 0.9% in Q1 2018.


However, Greece’s economic fundamentals remain weak. The economy has shrunk by 25% compared with the time before the crisis began, and the unemployment rate remained high at 20.3% in Q1 2018. In addition, it is expected that it will take decades for the country to pay off its huge debt pile amounting to approximately 180% of its GDP.


In August 2018, Fitch upgraded the country’s sovereign rating to ‘BB-’ from ‘B’ with a stable outlook, citing domestic political backdrop has become somewhat more stable and the working relationship between Greece and European creditors has substantially improved. Looking forward, the rating agency forecast the economy to grow 2% in 2018 and 2.3% in 2019.
 

 

Hong Kong – Greece Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Greece decreased by 0.2% from HK$1,144 million in 2016 to HK$1,142 million in 2017. The top three export categories to Greece were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+9.2%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (-5.8%), and (3) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and electrical parts thereof (-19.2%), which represented 65.4% of total exports to Greece.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Greek buyers. Currently, the insured buyers in Greece are mainly small and medium-sized companies. For 2017, when compared with 2016, the number and amount of credit limit applications on Greece decreased by 4.2% and increased by 55.2% respectively, while insured business decreased by 27.3%.  Major insured products were electronics, clothing and plastic articles, which represented 51.5% of HKECIC’s insured business on Greece. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Greece has been satisfactory, with no claim payment or payment difficulty case reported in the past 12 months (from September 2017 to August 2018).

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 11 September 2018

.

     
Flag and map of Thailand

 
Key Information
Capital   Cairo
Population   95.7 million
Area   997,739 sq km
Currency   Egyptian pound (1 USD = 17.915 EGP as of 30 August 2018)
Official language   Arabic
Form of government   Republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 128 out of 190 in 2018 (↓6)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 100 out of 137 in 2017/18 (↑15)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 67 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Cotton & other textiles (32.5%)   Oil & natural gas (18.3%)
Oil & natural gas (28.7%)   Machinery & Equipment (15.8%)
Chemicals (7.1%)   Chemicals (11.7%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
UAE (11.1%)   China (7.7%)
Italy (10.2%)   Saudi Arabia (5.5%)
USA (8.4%)   UAE (5.4%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Egypt is a northern African country which emerged as a republic in 1953. The president is the chief of state elected by absolute majority vote for a four-year term and is allowed to serve a second consecutive term. The incumbent President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi won a second term in the March 2018 presidential election. The country adopts a unicameral legislature with 596 members in the House of Representatives. The prime minister Mostafa Madbouly is the head of government appointed by the president in June 2018.


Situated at the crossroads of Europe, Africa and Asia, Egypt plays a key role in regional stability. It also acts as important hub in international trade and energy markets through the operation of the Suez Canal connecting the Mediterranean Sea and Red Sea. The government's priorities include maintaining cordial ties with the US and European Union, building relationships with Russia and China, and seeking to secure economic support from the Gulf Arab states.


Along with Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and other countries, Egypt declared a diplomatic boycott of Qatar in June 2017, accusing it of funding and supporting regional terrorism. It is expected that Egypt and Saudi Arabia will continue to step up efforts against security threats from Islamist groups, while the relations with Qatar will remain tense.

 

Economic Trend

*Estimate ^Forecast
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit


The Egyptian economy depends on tourism, oil and gas sector, agriculture, Suez Canal revenues and remittances from workers abroad. The country is trying to revive an economy plagued by years of political instability that scared off tourists and foreign investment. After a string of reforms, including unpegging the Egyptian pound from US dollar, implementation of the value-added tax (VAT) and reduction of energy subsidies, the pace of economic growth starts to accelerate.


The Egyptian pound has lost about half of its value since the currency flotation in November 2016, sending annual inflation to 29.5% in 2017. The weaker Egyptian pound enhanced the competitiveness of its goods, providing an opportunity for local producers to increase their exports. The inflation has eased gradually to 13.0% yr/yr in July 2018, partly due to largely stabilized currency. Separately, the fiscal deficit is forecast to narrow gradually in the coming years on higher tax revenue and lower energy subsidies.


Despite a brighter economic outlook for Egypt, the country remains reliant on external financial support from international governments and organizations. In an attempt to revive its faltering economy since 2011, the country obtained an IMF loan of USD 12 billion in 2016, in exchange for wide-ranging structural economic reforms. In late Aug 2018, Moody's has changed the outlook on the government of Egypt's long-term issuer ratings to positive from stable and has affirmed its B3 issuer ratings. The change in outlook to positive reflects the continuing structural improvements in the fiscal and current account balances, resulting from the ongoing implementation of the IMF-backed reform program.
 

 

Hong Kong – Egypt Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Egypt increased by 1.9% from HK$4,204 million in 2016 to HK$4,284 million in 2017. The top three export categories to Egypt were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+7.3%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (-27.4%), and (3) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and electrical parts thereof (-11.6%), which represented 87.1% of total exports to Egypt.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restriction on covering Egyptian buyers. For 2017, when compared with 2016, the number and the amount of credit limit applications on Egypt decreased by 31.6% and 62.5% respectively, while insured business increased by 40.8%. Major insured products were electrical appliances (+329.9%), metallic products (-34.8%) and office & stationery supplies (+168.0%), which represented 65.1% of HKECIC’s insured business on Egypt. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Egypt has been satisfactory, with no claim payment or payment difficulty case reported in the past 12 months (from August 2017 to July 2018).

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 30 August 2018

       
Flag and map of Senegal

 
Key Information
Capital   Dakar
Population   14.7 million
Area   196,722 sq km
Currency   West African CFA franc (fixed to the Euro, 1 EUR = 656 XOF)
Official language   French
Form of government   Unitary republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 140 out of 190 in 2018 (↑7)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 106 out of 137 in 2017/18 (↑6)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 141 out of 160 in 2018
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
Mali (15.5%)   France (18.8%)
Switzerland (12.0%)   China (12.0%)
India (6.3%)   Nigeria (9.2%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Senegal is a unitary republic with President as the head of state and the Prime Minister as the head of government. The country’s political environment has been relatively stable in the past years. The incumbent President Macky Sall is expected to secure another term in the 2019 election, given the ruling Benno Bokk Yakaar (BBY) coalition won another parliamentary majority in the legislative election in 2017.


Senegal is one of the poorest countries with nearly half of the population living in poverty. The government has made education and training a priority sector and has worked with multiple partners to support the implementation of the country’s education sector development plan. Furthermore, the government continues to secure foreign direct investment and work towards the development of a railway linking Dakar to the Casamance region, with the aim of boosting economic activity
.

On a diplomatic front, Senegal maintains close ties with France, both economic and security-related. It is also co-operating with the US through a defence agreement signed in 2016. The US military also used Senegal as a staging post from 2014 to transport troops, health workers and supplies to West Africa to combat an outbreak of the Ebola virus.

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast
Source: International Monetary Fund


Senegal’s economic growth has remained above 6% over the past few years and reached 7.2% in 2017, driven by higher private investment, particularly in oil, energy, transport infrastructure, agriculture, tourism, textiles and information technology. Investments in the power sector in recent years will continue to underpin economic expansion throughout 2018‑22, while budget deficit and inflation is expected to increase driven by election and security spending.

The country’s structural current account deficit was attributable to its continued reliance on imports of energy and capital goods. It is expected that the deficit will continue to widen on slowing export growth as well as increasing capital imports.

 

The recent discovery of hydrocarbons gas and oil fields could further improve Senegal’s economic situation while extraction is likely to be complex for its underdeveloped industry. The World Bank has offered support to the country including practical advice and technical assistance, along with support for strengthening government capacity whenever it is engaged in complex gas negotiations.

 

Hong Kong –  Senegal Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Senegal increased by 43.7% from HK$961 million in 2016 to HK$1,381 million in 2017. The top three export categories to Senegal were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+43.2%), (2) non-ferrous metals (+211.7%), and (3) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (+117.3%), which represented 98.0% of total exports to Senegal.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

ECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (ECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Senegal buyers.  In the past 12 months (from August 2017 to July 2018), there was no insured business on Senegal.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).


Last update: 30 August 2018

      
Flag and map of Tunisia

 
Key Information
Capital   Tunis
Population   11.4 million
Area   163,610 sq km
Currency   Tunisian Dinar (1 TND = 0.36 USD as of 23 August 2018)
Official language   Arabic
Form of government   Unitary semi-presidential representative democratic republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 88 out of 190 in 2018 (↓11)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 95 out of 137 in 2017/18 (↓3)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 45 out of 160 in 2016
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Consumer & intermediary goods (62.4%)   Consumer & intermediary goods (54.1%)
Equipment (21.9%)   Equipment (25.7%)
Energy products (5.9%)   Agriculture & basic food products (12.2%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
France (30.5%)   Italy (15.3%)
Italy (16.4%)   France (14.7%)
Germany (11.8%)   China (8.9%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Tunisia is a unitary semi-presidential representative democratic republic with the President as head of state and Prime Minister as head of government. In July 2018, President Beji Caid Essebsi called for Prime Minister Youssef Chahed to step down or get a vote of confidence in Parliament if the country’s political and economic crisis continues, but Chahed rejected and said that a change of government would put the economy at risk and shake the confidence of international lenders. Looking forward, party positioning ahead of the 2019 legislative and presidential elections is a source of policy risk and could lead to renewed government instability.

Poverty and unemployment in Tunisia have soared over the past decade. This triggered Tunisia’s revolution in 2011 and since then nine cabinets have failed to resolve the country’s economic problems. The unemployment rate remained high in Q1 2018 at 15.4% and the situation of youth unemployment was daunting, with a record rate of 36%.

 

Economic Trend

*Forecast
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit



The political transition, recurrent social tensions, domestic security shocks as well the political and security situation in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), have delayed the country’s needed reforms. Economic growth performance after the revolution in 2011 remained weak despite a modest acceleration in 2017, mainly driven by agriculture and services. While the economy is displaying signs of economic recovery, it is still relying on loans provided by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In July 2018, the IMF approved the release of a US$ 249 million loan tranche to Tunisia, the fourth tranche from the four-year US$ 2.9 billion stimulus package.

The country’s current account deficit reached a record high at 10.8% of GDP in 2017 as higher energy imports outpaced the increase in tourism receipts and revenue from workers abroad. The widening current account deficit depressed foreign direct investment and the dinar continued to fall despite the central bank’s interventions, which had led to a decrease in gross international reserves to the lowest level in more than 25 years. Inflation reached 7.5% in August and the central bank has raised its key interest rate to 6.75%, the second hike in three months to tackle inflation.

 

Hong Kong – Tunisia Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Tunisia decreased by 20.9% from HK$1,539 million in 2016 to HK$1,218 million in 2017. The top three export categories to Tunisia were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-39.2%), (2) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and electrical parts thereof (+19.0%), and (3) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+7.3%), which represented 84.9% of total exports to Tunisia.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Tunisian buyers with the exception of those under sanctions. In the past 12 months (from August 2017 to July 2018), there was no claim payment or payment difficulty case reported against Tunisian buyers.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 24 Aug 2018

       
Flag and map of Bahrain

 
Key Information
Capital   Manama
Population   1.5 million
Area   760 sq km
Currency   Bahraini Dinar (pegged to the US dollar at a rate of BD0.376:US$1)
Official language   Arabic
Form of government   Constitutional Monarchy
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 66 out of 190 in 2018 (↓3)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 48 out of 138 in 2017/18 (↑4)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 59 out of 160 in 2018
Major Merchandise Exports (% of total, 2016*)   Major Merchandise Imports (% of total, 2016*)
Fuels and mining products (65.0%)   Manufactured products (56.3%)
Manufactured products (31.5%)   Fuels and mining products (29.4%)
Agricultural products (3.1%)   Agricultural products (12.8%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   China (8.8%)
Saudi Arabia (11.6%)   United Arab Emirates (7.2%)
USA (10.8%)   USA (7.1%)

*Most recent data available
Sources: Economist Intelligence Unit, World Trade Organization

Political Highlights

 

Bahrain is a constitutional monarchy with an elected legislative assembly. The National Assembly is bicameral with a four-year term and the next election is due in late 2018. The government is dominated by members of the Sunni al-Khalifa royal family headed by the King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa. The country's Shia Muslim majority claims that they are economically and politically marginalized by the Sunni Muslim ruling family, which holds most of the important cabinet posts. It is anticipated that the political tensions will continue and the upcoming elections could act as a focal point, increasing political violence and protests.

 

Bahrain is a member of the coalition of Arab states, which has imposed a boycott on Qatar in June 2017, cutting diplomatic ties as well as trade and transport links with the country. It is anticipated that the political tensions within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries to persist over the next few years. Meanwhile, Bahrain seeks to shore up its alliances with Western countries including the US and UK.

 

Economic Trend

^Forecast
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, International Monetary Fund (IMF)


Bahrain is a relatively diversified economy with the non-oil sector contributed by more than 85% of its output. Its economy and financial system continued to perform well in 2017, with the economy expanding by 3.8%, despite the government's weak fiscal position and low level of foreign reserves.

In April 2018, Bahrain announced it had made a significant discovery of oil and gas in the offshore Khaleej Al Bahrain Basin, the largest find in the country since the 1930s. Oil production from the recently discovered large off-shore oil reservoir will likely, in the long term, improve the country's fiscal and external position.

 

While Bahrain was battered by the swings in oil prices, it is in talks with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait for support that would help reducing its ballooning debt and shore up foreign exchange reserves. In August 2018, Moody's downgraded Bahrain's credit rating from B1 to B2 and maintained its negative outlook. The key drivers for the rating downgrade were due to a further rise in the country's external and government liquidity risks to particularly elevated levels and the risk that financial support from the GCC is not timely and comprehensive enough to maintain its credit profile.

 

Hong Kong – Bahrain Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Bahrain decreased by 17.7% from HK$ 852 million in 2016 to HK$ 701 million in 2017. The top three export categories to Bahrain were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-26.5%), (2) power generating machinery and equipment (-53.0%), and (3) office machines and automatic data processing machines (-25.2%), which represented 58.4% of total exports to Bahrain.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Bahrain buyers. In the past 12 months (from August 2017 to July 2018), the insured business from Bahrain was limited and there was no claim payment or payment difficulty case reported.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 22 August 2018

          
Flag and map of Rwanda

 
Key Information
Capital   Kigali
Population   12.0 million
Area   26,338 sq km
Currency   Rwandan franc (1 USD = 872.416 RWF as of 21 August 2018)
Official language   English, French and Kinyarwanda
Form of government   Presidential republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 41 out of 190 in 2018
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 58 out of 137 in 2017/18
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 57 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2016*)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2016*)
Agricultural products (35.0%)   Manufactured products (59.1%)
Fuels and mining products (26.9%)   Agricultural products (16.0%)
Manufactured products (11.0%)   Fuels and mining products (2.4%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
United Arab Emirates (31.4%)   China (20.4%)
Kenya (12.4%)   Uganda (11.0%)
Switzerland (8.1%)   India (7.2%)

* Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, World Trade Organisation

Political Highlights

 

Rwanda is a landlocked nation in eastern Africa. The president, directly elected by universal suffrage, is both the Head of State and Chief of Government. The bicameral legislature consists of a 24-seat upper house and a 80-seat lower house. Paul Kagame, who has ruled the country since 2000, was re-elected as president with an overwhelming 99% of vote in the presidential election in 2017. Kagame-led ruling party, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), looks set for another majority against a weak opposition in the coming parliamentary election in September 2018.


Despite the country was severely devastated by the genocide in 1994, the country’s political environment turned relatively stable after RPF took control of the country. Since early 2000s, the government has made socio-economic and political progress and consolidated peace among Rwandans. Remarkably, the country was ranked the third least corrupt country in Africa in 2017, according to Transparency International.
 

Economic Trend

*Estimate ^Forecast #Actual
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit


Rwanda is heavily dependent on its agriculture industry which generates more than two-thirds of its export earnings. For diversification, the country has in recent time to nurture a pro-business policy environment to attract foreign investments. According to the World Bank, Rwanda has implemented the most reforms in the Sub-Saharan Africa over the past 15 years, facilitating the country to stand second best out of these countries in terms of ease of doing business ranking in 2018.


Rwanda has experienced an average GDP growth of 8% since 2000, mainly driven by the agricultural and services sectors. The country’s strong economic growth has led to substantial improvements in living standards. In particular, the economy grew by 10.6% year on year in the first three months of 2018, with expansions recorded across all sectors.


Going forward, the government seeks to further reduce the national poverty rate and transform the country to a knowledge-based and service-oriented middle-income country by 2020. While both services and industry sectors are expected to exhibit growth in near future, the current account deficit is forecast to widen as a result of surge in imports of infrastructure-related capital goods.
 

 

Hong Kong – Rwanda Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Rwanda decreased by 18.5% from HK$392 million in 2016 to HK$320 million in 2017. The top three export categories to Rwanda were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-18.6%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+57.9), and (3) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and electrical parts thereof (+17.4%), which represented 98.7% of total exports to Rwanda.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

ECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (ECIC) offers coverage on Rwanda buyers with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC). In the past 12 months (from August 2017 to July 2018), there was no insured business on Rwanda. .

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 21 August 2018

       
Flag and map of Iraq

 
Key Information
Capital   Baghdad
Population   39.2 million
Area   438,317 sq km
Currency   Iraqi dinar (pegged to the US dollar at a rate of around 1,200 dinars per dollar)
Official language   Arabic, Kurdish
Form of government   Federal parliamentary republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 168 out of 190 in 2018 (↓3)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 147 out of 160 in 2018
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
India (21.1%)   Turkey (27.9%)
South Korea (20.2%)   China (25.7%)
China (15.8%)   South Korea (4.7%)

Sources: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Iraq is a federal parliamentary republic. It is a multi-party system whereby the executive power is exercised by the prime minister and the president, and legislative power is vested in the Council of Representatives and the Federation Council. The Sairoon Alliance of Shia leader Moqtada al-Sadr won the largest number of parliamentary seats but failed to secure a majority in the May 2018 election and currently in talks to form a coalition with the Nasr alliance led by prime minister Haider al-Abadi, along with two other parliamentary groups. The political uncertainty over the make-up of the new government has raised tensions at a time when public impatience is growing over poor basic services, high unemployment and the slow pace of rebuilding.

Conflicts between the country’s three main groups—Shiite Arabs, Sunni Arabs and Kurds, as well as different national interests have complicated the governance. Years of fighting have devastated the country’s economy and infrastructure. With the aided by Iranian-backed Shiite militias and a US-led coalition, Iraq recaptured its second-largest city Mosul from extremists in July 2017. The government estimated the country needs over US$80 billion for the reconstruction of Mosul and mass of territory.

 

The upcoming priorities of the government will continue to be guided by both reconstruction efforts and the economic reform program supported by IMF’s three-year USD 5.34 billion Stand-By facilities approved in July 2016. The government already drew USD 2.1 billion from the facilities, while IMF has pointed out that the country needs to implement further fiscal consolidation measures in order to keep the program on track.

 

Economic Trend

*Forecast
Source: International Monetary Fund


Iraq is the second-largest oil producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) with the world’s fourth-largest proven crude reserves. Economic growth is largely dependent on the oil sector. Mineral fuels including oil exports represent over 95% of the country’s total exports in 2017.  The economy contracted in 2017 due to the decrease in oil production caused by the war and low oil prices, while non-oil growth turned to positive given the improved security situation and government’s reconstruction effort. Growth in 2018 is set to accelerate, supported by higher oil prices and production.

China is ramping up its role in Iraqi reconstruction as Iraq is located on the Al-Hareer Road linking Asia, the Middle East and Europe , which facilitated the exchange of goods and products. Sino-Iraqi relations benefit from the backdrop of the Belt and Road Initiative, which seeks to foster growing East-West overland trade by promoting greater logistical connectivity. The fast growing in Iraq-China partnership was highlighted by a dramatic increase in oil exports to China, which rose from zero in 2007 to 270 million barrels annually by 2017 and accounted for about 8.8% of total Chinese oil imports
.

 

Hong Kong – Iraq Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Iraq decreased by 49.6% from HK$932 million in 2016 to HK$470 million in 2017. The top three export categories to Iraq were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-56.4%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+21.1%), and (3) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (+11.6%), which represented 95.2% of total exports to Iraq.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) offers coverage on Iraqi buyers with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC).  In the past 12 months (from August 2017 to July 2018), there was no insured business on Iraq.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 20 August 2018

        
Flag and map of Pakistan

 
Key Information
Capital   Islamabad
Population   197 million
Area   796,095 sq km
Currency   Pakistan Rupee (1 PKR = 0.00810774 USD as of 17 August 2018)
Official language   Urdu (official) but English is widely used
Form of government   Parliamentary Republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 147 out of 190 in 2018 (↓3)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 115 out of 138 in 2017/18 (↑7)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 122 out of 160 in 2018
 
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Knitwear (10.9%)   Petroleum products (13.5%)
Cotton cloth (9.3%)   Crude petroleum (6.6%)
Rice (7.4%)   Palm oil (3.7%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
USA (16.6%)   China (27.7%)
UK (7.2%)   UAE (13.8%)
China (5.6%)   USA (5.0%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Pakistan emerged as an independent state in 1947 and is a member of the Commonwealth. The country is a federal parliamentary republic with the president as the head of state elected for a five-year term by members of the lower and upper house of parliament and four provincial assemblies. There is a bicameral legislature. The lower house is the national assembly and the upper house is the senate. The prime minister is the head of government elected by the national assembly. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led by Imran Khan became the single largest party in the general election held in July 2018, winning 158 of the 342 seats but failed to win a simple majority to form the government. Imran Khan, the prime minister-in-waiting, is expected to form a governing coalition with the opposition parties.

 

On the diplomatic front, China remains Pakistan's leading economic partner. The majority of funding from China has been allocated to energy and transport infrastructure projects including the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) under China's Belt and Road Initiative. Although public sentiment towards China remains favourable, the financing terms of CPEC investments will occasionally be a point of contention. Such disagreements, however, will not fundamentally threaten the strengthening of bilateral co-operation.

 

Economic Trend

Fiscal year ending 30 June
*Forecast
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit


Pakistan has a predominantly agricultural economy, with cotton, fisheries and forestry contributing about 25% of GDP, and it has large deposits of natural gas. Economic growth has been robust with strong growth registered in FY17-18, underpinned by increases in consumption and the improved performance of exports. The government has set a growth target of 6.2% for 2018-19 which is unlikely to be achieved amid an increase in the number of challenges including depleting foreign exchange reserves, weak currency and political uncertainties.

 

The country’s foreign exchange reserves have been sliding since the past two years, as remittances fall and imports increased. The monetary authorities have taken steps in recent months including uplift of key interest rates to address the deterioration in the external position. It is widely expected that, after the election, the new government would have to explore financing options from several sources including China and multilateral development banks, and possibly the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Higher oil prices has spiked the country’s annual inflation rate in June to 4-year high of 5.2%. The import bill and trade deficit is likely to remain high in FY18-19. To combat inflation and cool domestic demand, the State Bank of Pakistan in July has increased the third time its key interest rates to 7.5% in 2018.

 

Hong Kong – Pakistan Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Pakistan increased by 2.1% from HK$4,111 million in 2016 to HK$4,195 million in 2017. The top three export categories to Pakistan were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-16.6%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+67.3%), and (3) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (+39.4%), which represented 61.7% of total exports to Pakistan.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

ECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (ECIC) imposes no restriction on covering Pakistan buyers. In the past 12 months (from August 2017 to July 2018), the insured business from Pakistan was limited and there was no claim payment or payment difficulty case reported.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 17 Aug 2018

     
Flag and map of Sudan

 
Key Information
Capital   Khartoum
Population   39.6 million
Area   1,861,484 sq km
Currency   Sudanese Pound (Pegged to the USD at 28 SDG)
Official language   English and Arabic
Form of government   Presidential Republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 170 out of 190 in 2018 (↓2)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 121 out of 160 in 2018
Major Merchandise Exports (% of total, 2016*)   Major Merchandise Imports (% of total, 2016*)
Agricultural products (66.8%)   Manufactured products (69.9%)
Fuels and mining products (10.9%)   Agricultural products (6.6%)
Manufactured products (4.4%)   Fuels and mining products (2.1%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
UAE (55.4%)   UAE (12.7%)
Egypt (14.7%)   Egypt (10.6%)
Saudi Arabia (8.8%)   India (10.5%)

*Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Sudan is a presidential republic wherein the president is the Head of State, Head of Government, and Commander-in-chief of the armed forces. Legislative duties are administered by the bicameral parliament consisting of a 426-member National Assembly and a Council of States composed of two representatives elected by each state assembly.

 

South Sudan gained independence from Sudan through a referendum in 2011. Although most of the oil production capacity in these two countries is in South Sudan, the country is landlocked and remains dependent on Sudan’s export pipelines and port. Civil unrest, disagreements over oil revenue sharing and border disputes have curtailed oil production and investment in both countries.

Prolonged US economic sanctions against the unified Sudan allowed Asian national oil companies to dominate the oil sectors in both Sudan and South Sudan. China, India and Malaysia hold large stakes in the leading consortia that operate oil fields and pipelines. In October 2017, the US announced the full lifting of sanctions on Sudan which it had first imposed in 1997. The lifting may provide opportunities for other foreign investors to enter the industry and has also led to increased levels of trade with the US and a renewed push by the government to attract foreign investment.

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit


Economic conditions in Sudan have been challenging since the secession of South Sudan in 2011, and the associated loss of the bulk of oil exports. The authorities have implemented partial policy adjustments to help stabilizing the economy and re-establish growth, by allowing for greater exchange rate flexibility and reducing fuel subsidies. However, these measures were insufficient toward sustained macroeconomic stability and broad-based growth. The revocation of US sanctions on trade and financial flows in October 2017 has strengthened optimism and led to reductions in costs of imports, trade, and international financial services.

 

However, with the country lost its major oil output in 2011 depriving it of a crucial source of foreign currency. The central bank has held the indicative exchange rate at 28 pounds to the US dollar but the currency is largely unavailable at that price. The crisis has deepened over the past year as the black market for US dollars has effectively replaced the formal banking system. The shortage of foreign currency and expensive black market for dollars sapped its ability to import and made prices soar. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has urged Sudan to float its currency to boost growth and investment, a measure that the Sudanese government has opposed.

 

Hong Kong – Sudan Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Sudan decreased by 35.0% from HK$56.8 million in 2016 to HK$36.9 million in 2017. The top three export categories to Pakistan were: (1) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (+72.6%), (2) professional, scientific and controlling instruments and apparatus (+27.1%), and (3) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-80.1%), which represented 55.2% of total exports to Sudan.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

ECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (ECIC) offers coverage on Sudan buyers with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC). In the past 12 months (from August 2017 to July 2018), there was no insured business on Sudan.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 16 Aug 2018

       
Flag and map of India

 
Key Information
Capital   New Delhi
Population   1.34 billion
Area   3,287,263 sq km
Currency   Indian rupee (1 INR = 0.0143 USD as of 14 August 2018)
Official language   Hindi, English
Form of government   Federal Republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 100 out of 190 in 2018 (↑30)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 40 out of 137 in 2017/18 (↓1)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 44 out of 160 in 2018
 
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017/2018))   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017/2018))
Engineering goods (26.0%)   Petroleum products (23.7%)
Gems & jewellery (13.7%)   Electronic goods (11.6%)
Petroleum products (12.8%)   Gold (7.3%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017/2018))   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017/2018))
USA (15.8%)   China (16.4%)
United Arab Emirates (9.3%)   USA (5.6%)
Hong Kong (4.9%)   Saudi Arabia (4.8%)

Fiscal year ending 31 March
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, Department of Commerce of India

Political Highlights

 

India is a federal republic governed under a parliamentary system. The ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) coalition has been in office since 2014 and is led by the centre-right Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The president is the Head of State while the prime minister is the Head of Government. The incumbent prime minister, Narendra Modi, is proving to be the country's most dominant political leader in decades and the NDA coalition is well placed to win a second five-year term at the parliamentary election in April-May 2019. The high popularity of Modi and the BJP helped bringing political stability to the country.

Externally, India-Pakistan over half century of conflict over control of Kashmir region sees a line of light. In August 2018, Modi congratulated the victory of new Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led by the new prime minister Imran Khan and both expressed to resolve the disputes through dialogue. 

India has strengthened security co-operation with the US in recent years.  However, the India-US relations is clouded by the recent trade disputes with tariffs being imposed from both sides, as a protectionist trade agenda is being pushed by the US.  Despite the current tensions are unlikely to escalate into a serious deterioration of the India-US ties, it may slow down the expansion of trade between the two countries.

 

Economic Trend

*Forecasts
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit


India’s real GDP grew by 7.3% in fiscal year 2017-18 (April – March), according to official data, confirming its status as the world’s fastest growing major economy in 2018. Economic expansion was driven predominately by private consumption and government expenditure. Also, the country was recovering from the effects of demonetization and the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in previous years. It is expected to yield substantial growth dividends from higher efficiencies, and raise more revenues in the long term.

Though India’s increasing well-educated population and favourable demographics, majority of people still preoccupied with meeting their basic daily needs rather than following the latest consumer trends. While, middle-class households are growing and the country’s large population will become increasing important market for consumer goods.

While the external debt as a percentage of GDP is decreasing, economic risks remain tilted to the downside. On the external side, despite the reduction in imbalances and strengthening of buffers, the impact from intensified global financial market volatility could be disruptive. The current account remained in deficit at 3% of GDP in 2017-18, driven by a surge in the value of imports as oil prices remain high. The growth in exports was insufficient to offset the rising import bill. Also, the normalization of monetary policy in the US may also induce capital outflows from India’s debt market, putting downward pressure on the rupee.

 

Hong Kong – India Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to India increased by 35.9% from HK$116,702 million in 2016 to HK$158,635 million in 2017. The top three export categories to India were: (1) non-metallic mineral manufactures (+40.3%), (2) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+12.8%), and (3) non-ferrous metals (+236.0%), which represented 81.8% of total exports to India.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

ECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (ECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Indian buyers. Currently, the insured buyers in India are mainly small and medium-sized companies to listed companies. For 2017, when compared with 2016, the number and amount of credit limit applications on India decreased by 5.7% and 74.5% respectively, while insured business decreased by 2.5%. Major insured products were electrical appliances, electronics and clothing, which represented 85.8% of ECIC’s insured business on India.  The Corporation’s underwriting experience on India has been satisfactory, with two claim cases reported in the past 12 months (from July 2017 to June 2018), involving textiles, cameras and optical goods.

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 14 August 2018

       
Flag and map of Libya

 
Key Information
Capital   Tripoli
Population   6.3 million
Area   1,759,540 sq km
Currency   Libyan Dinar (1 USD = 1.38240 LYD as of 1 August 2018)
Official language   Arabic
Form of government   Provisional government
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 185 out of 190 in 2018 (↑3)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 154 out of 160 in 2018
Major Merchandise Exports (% of total, 2016*)   Major Merchandise Imports (% of total, 2016*)
Fuels and mining products (92.5%)   Manufactured products (84.1%)
Manufactured products (1.7%)   Agricultural products (13.0%)
    Fuels and mining products (2.7%)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2017)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2017)
Italy (19.0%)   China (6.9%)
Spain (12.5%)   Turkey (5.7%)
France (11.0%)   Italy (3.5%)

* Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, World Trade Organization

Political Highlights

 

Libya is under an ongoing civil war in recent years. The country has splintered and has been divided into competing political and military factions based in the east and west of Libya since 2014. The country currently has two rival governments which have yet to establish law and order. One led by Fayez al-Sarraj based in western Libya and supported by the United Nations (UN), and another unrecognised government under the leadership of Abdullah al-Thinni based in the east, and also a plethora of armed groups that pledge allegiance to either administration. The Thinni administration is backed by a powerful Gaddafi-era general, Khalifa Haftar, who controls most of the east and centre of the country.

A UN-proposed roadmap for Libya was unveiled in early 2018. The UN Action Plan seeks to first approve an electoral law and hold a referendum to approve the new constitution. However, past experience suggests that any election timeline is likely to slip as a result of political deadlock or fresh conflicts.

 

Economic Trend

*Forecast
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, International Monetary Fund


Libya's economy depends almost entirely on the performance of the oil sector. The economy contracted throughout 2013-16, mainly as a result of the collapse of oil production and the consequent fiscal constraints. In 2017, the country registered a major improvement in its macroeconomic performance due to the boost in production and export of oil. With the growth in oil revenues, budget deficit has declined but is forecast to persist due to spending on state wages and subsidies continue to constitute the majority of public expenditures. The inflation rate has been on the rise in recent years, attributable to the supply chain disruption, weakening local currency as well as the removal of food subsidies.

 

Since the 2011 revolution, Libya has focused on recovering from the effects of war and years of international isolation, which have strongly affected the quality of the country’s infrastructure. The rival governments have delayed infrastructure development, and focused on security and political transition. Some expansion is planned for 2019-2020 in the electricity, water, healthcare and transportation sectors, providing opportunities for local and foreign investors. Strengthening public resource management and adopting a clear strategy should be a priority once the security situation improves.

 

Hong Kong – Libya Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Libya increased by 21.9% from HK$49.7 million in 2016 to HK$60.6 million in 2017. The top three export categories to Libya were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+18.9%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+106.9%), and (3) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (+34.2%), which represented 87.4% of total exports to Libya.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

ECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (ECIC) offers coverage on buyers in Libya with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC). In the past 12 months (from August 2017 to July 2018), there was no insured business on Libya.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 3 August 2018

     
Flag and map of Korea

 
Key Information
Capital   Seoul
Population   51.0 million
Area   99,678 sq km
Currency   South Korean Won (1 USD = 1,125.53 KRW as of 2 August 2018)
Official language   Korean
Form of government   Presidential Republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 4 out of 190 in 2018 (↑1)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 26 out of 138 in 2017/18 (same as 2016/17)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 25 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Machinery & transport equipment (59.1%)    Machinery & transport equipment (34.0%)
Manufactured goods (12.5%)   Mineral fuels, lubricants & related materials (23.0%)
Chemicals & related products (12.3%)   Manufactured goods (10.6%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
China (25.1%)   China (20.5%)
USA (12.2%)   Japan (11.5%)
Vietnam (8.2%)   USA (10.5%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

The Republic of Korea (often referred to as South Korea) is a presidential republic wherein the president is the Head of State, Head of Government and Commander-In-Chief of the armed forces for a single five-year term. Moon Jae-in from the Democratic Party was elected as president in May 2017. Taking advantage of his high approval rating after the inter-Korea summit in late April, the ruling Democratic Party won a landslide victory over the largest opposition Liberty Korea Party in the local elections in June 2018.

 

Unlike the supply-side-oriented policies pursued by the previous conservative administrations, Moon Jae-in seeks to implement a demand-driven economic programme to drive growth. The government is pursuing a sequence of policies aimed at narrowing income inequality and enhancing job security. These include increasing taxes on corporates entities and the wealthiest, raising the minimum wage as well as extending welfare benefits.

On the diplomatic front, the North Korea issues continue to dominate the national security of South Korea. The first meeting between the two Korean leaders in more than a decade in April followed by the subsequent historic summit between the US President Donald Trump and North Korea leader Kim Jong Un in June helped to ease the persistent political tensions. However, there are still growing concerns about whether the ongoing peace talks could lead to a genuine willingness for North Korea to denuclearize.

 

Economic Trend

^Forecast
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit


South Korea’s economic strength is based on its export sector, which made up over 50% of the country’s GDP. The export sector has enjoyed relatively high year-on-year growth rates driven by the global trade recovery in the wake of the global financial crisis in the last decade. While exports growth moderated in recent years compared to early 2010s, the current account is expected to remain in surplus thanks to the sustainable global growth momentum. However, the country’s exports are vulnerable to the rising protectionist sentiment and geopolitical tensions, among other things. In July, the central bank trimmed the country’s 2018 growth outlook to 2.9% from 3.0% on fears that the exports could be hit by the hit-for-tat tariffs imposed between the US and other nations.

 

The central bank of South Korea has kept its main policy interest rate unchanged at 1.5% since November 2017 after the first increase in more than six years. While loose monetary policy has supported economic growth in recent years, mounting household debt has become a side-effect. At the end of 2017, household debt accounted for approximately 75% of the country’s GDP, posting a drag on private consumption. Nevertheless, the growth in household debt slowed down in the first half of 2018 as the government stepped up measures to tighten lending terms.

 

Hong Kong – Korea Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to the Republic of Korea increased by 4.9% from HK$54,040 million in 2016 to HK$56,672 million in 2017. The top three export categories to the Republic of Korea were: (1) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and electrical parts thereof (-3.9%), (2) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+16.2%), and (3) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+51.6%), which represented 70.8% of total exports to the Republic of Korea.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

ECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (ECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering buyers in the Republic of Korea. Currently, the insured buyers in the Republic of Korea range from small and medium sized companies to listed companies. For 2017, the number and the amount of credit limit applications on the Republic of Korea increased by 2.5% and 191.3% respectively, while insured business decreased by 24.6%. Major insured products were clothing (+4.7%), electronics (+132.9%) and metallic products (+90.3%), which represented 56.3% of ECIC’s insured business on the Republic of Korea. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on the Republic of Korea has been satisfactory, with one payment difficulty case and one claim case in the past 12 months (from July 2017 to June 2018).

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 2 August 2018

       
Flag and map of Afghanistan

 
Key Information
Capital   Kabul
Population   35.5 million
Area   652,100 sq km
Currency   Afghan Afghani (1 USD = 72.9023 AFN as of 23 July 2018)
Official language   Dari, Pashto
Form of government   Islamic presidential republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 183 out of 190 in 2018 (same as 2017)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 160 out of 160 in 2018
Top three export markets (% of total, 2016)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2016)
Pakistan (46.3%)   Iran (19.3%)
India (37.6%)   Pakistan (18.3%)
Iran (3.1%)   China (16.7%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Afghanistan is a land-locked nation located within South Asia and Central Asia. According to the constitution adopted in 2004, the president is both the Chief of State and Head of Government elected by absolute majority vote to serve a 5-year term. The national legislative is a bicameral National Assembly comprising a 102-seat upper house and a 249-seat lower house. Elections for the lower house was originally due to be held in 2015, but had been postponed to October 2018 over security concerns and electoral reform process.


With a long history of war and conflict, insecurity is the major risk to the country’s political and social stability. On the diplomatic front, policy is largely influenced by its security concerns, which gives Pakistan a crucial role over the country’s security dynamics. 
 

Economic Trend

* Estimate ^ Forecast # Actual
Source: International Monetary Fund


Afghanistan possesses valuable deposits of natural resources, including natural gas, oil, coal and precious metals. However, fragile situation and uncertain political environment have taken a heavy toll on private investment and consumer demand. The country has been listed on the Least Developed Countries (LDC) by the United Nation (UN) since 1971. The Afghanistan Living Conditions Survey showed the national poverty rate rose to 55% in 2016-17 from 38% in 2011-12. The high poverty rates represent the combined effect of stagnating economic growth, increasing demographic pressures, and a deteriorating situation.


Economic growth is vulnerable and unsustainable as the country relies heavily on donor support from international governments and organisations. IMF projected that growth to remain steady at 2.5% in 2018 and rise to 3% in 2019. The government aims to attract higher levels of private investment to help boost economic growth, create more jobs, and reduce the country’s dependence on donor support. Regarding its external position, the country will continue to run a high trade deficit in coming years on account of an expected increase in global commodity prices as well as weak domestic demand.


The country’s outlook continues to be uncertain in the near term. Violence remains significant and political uncertainty has risen ahead of the long-expected parliamentary election in October 2018 and presidential election in April 2019, thus dampening private sector confidence and posting a significant downside risk to economic growth. Moreover, the high return of Afghan refugees from neighboring countries puts heavy pressure on government spending and social services.

 

Hong Kong – Afghanistan Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Afghanistan decreased by 43.2% from HK$37.7 million in 2016 to HK$21.4 million in 2017. The top three export categories to Afghanistan were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-39.6%), (2) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and electrical parts thereof (-62.9%), and (3) vegetables and fruit (nil in 2016), which represented 85.4% of total exports to Afghanistan.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

ECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (ECIC) offers coverage on Afghan buyers with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC). In the past 12 months (from July 2017 to June 2018), there was no insured business on Afghanistan.


Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).


Last update: 23 July 2018

 

       
Flag and map of Bhutan

 
Key Information
Capital   Thimphu
Population   0.8 million